THE SECOND STORY | October 26th, 2017

Autumn…Alameda…gorgeous and furious!

Follow me on my ‘for fun’ blog… 

Look what showed up this past week! Too nice of you Betsy!

One cool thing seller know how

The above, are some of the best tidbits of advice —–ever! Just tell the Buyers what’s not operating correctly…let them decide if they want to fix it, or have you fix it. I don’t advise any of my sellers to fix it, but rather give a dollar amount in the form of a credit, so Buyers can fix it themselves…or not.

If I’m taking stuff in, then I make myself take stuff out. Kind of my own personal swap party. Toss it or put it out on the curb, and hope somebody takes it. And if you are even thinking about moving…make a note to yourself….just do it! Take a photo of what’s special…and put that on your fridge! Wouldn’t it be lovely to put the storage places out of biz?

Thank you, Sean, for helping me clear out debris from under the back porch! Now it’s completely wood-free. And for hanging up my wind chimes. Thank you, Sutter, for forcing me to keep some items. But there are no guarantees.

Next big job is to clear out my office and totally reorganize it, when I have some quiet time. No promises about when that will be. But good intentions usually take the day!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tues 9

New 10

Pending 18 including my listing at 2872 Baywalk Road….4 offers.

PCH price change 4 very interesting to see agents send emails saying ‘still available.’

Sold 17

WT 1 withdrawn temporarily

Expired 1

Questions about the Alameda market? I’d like to hear some of your answers! My recent pending sale, this past Wed had 4 out-of-area folks and their agents fighting for it. Just like the owners are moving out of state, these offers represent folks who don’t live in town, and who have discovered Alameda and all of its qualities.

Have a great weekend! best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | October 24th, 2017

Debt Relief May Trigger Tax

The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, originally passed in 2007, was extended three times to protect homeowners from paying income tax on debt that was relieved due to foreclosure, short sales or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Mortgage Debt Relief example 2017.png

The law expired on December 31, 2016 and unless it is extended again, homeowners with debt relief in 2017 may be subject to tax.

A homeowner might feel a sense of relief without the obligation of a delinquent mortgage but just because the payments are no longer due doesn’t mean that there isn’t another obligation that replaces it. If a lender cancels or forgives debt, a taxpayer must include the cancelled amount in their income for tax purposes depending on the circumstances. The tax significance could be serious.

This previously allowed relief only applied to a taxpayers’ acquisition indebtedness of their principal residence which did not include second homes and investment property. The maximum amount was limited to $2 million of mortgage debt forgiveness or $1 million if filing separately.

Due to the serious consequences involved in short sales and foreclosures, it is advised that homeowners faced with this possibility should seek expert advice from their legal and tax professionals.

THE SECOND STORY | October 19th, 2017

Alameda has Limebikes!

See my for fun blog…

Alameda has LIMEBIKES!

I was driving (yes, I really was) along Shoreline earlier this week, and I saw a bike parked on the walk path. I immediately thought, that’s stupid. What if somebody takes it? Then I realized it was a LimeBike! And I saw another just down the road! Check out the link. It’s very cool! And then over the weekend I saw them everywhere! Ride it, park it, and walk away!

As I was passing a person riding a Limebike on Santa Clara, I asked if she liked it. She said it was great..because no docking station was involved and she could go door to door. But she said the she maxed out the seat height…she would have liked it a bit higher.

New subject – price  changes

Check out the properties that have price changes. See those that sit around for 40+ days on the market. There’s one that been on the market for over 400 days (yes, in earth years). Motivated seller? um, probably not.

Look for them under the Total Active & Pending sales below. (I sound like a Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer advertisement)

Alameda Real Estate Market this

Broker Tour Tues 20

I had a broker’s open on Tuesday so I didn’t get around to see anything that day. But I did see 1 house on the tour, that I showed a client!

New 21

BOM (back on market) 1 

Price change 4

Pending 13

Sold 17

Total Active listings this week  74

Total Pending listings this week 66

I had a new listing open last Sunday, had the broker tour on Tues, and will have 2872 Baywalk open this Sunday 2-4! Stop by..check it out! It was a very quiet open house for the first 15 minutes…but it was mobbed for the rest of the time!

Have a great weekend!

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | October 17th, 2017

Indecision is Not a Decision

There could be some legitimate reasons for not buying a home but indecision is not one of them. Indecision is rooted in not having enough information to move forward to own a home or continue renting.18443593-250.jpg

If you keep renting, at the end of the year, you have had a place to live and a pile of receipts that helped the landlord pay for his house. Deciding to buy a home will give you a place to live that is yours and all the things that come with that.

When you consider principal reduction, appreciation and tax savings, your monthly cost of housing could be much less than the rent you’re paying. The principal reduction included in each payment is like a forced savings account that increases as your mortgage balance decreases. Your equity in the property will also grow due to appreciation as the home goes up in value. The equity is part of your net worth and an investment in your family’s future.

The income tax savings can be an additional financial consideration if the combined interest and property taxes are greater than the allowable standard deduction.

Trends are showing that both tenants and homeowners are staying in their homes longer. It’s been said that whether you rent or own, you’re paying for the home. Do you really want to buy the home for your landlord? Check out your numbers on a Rent vs. Own and then, call us to help make it happen.

THE SECOND STORY | October 12th, 2017


I’ve become more and more grateful for our police folks and for our fire folks. I cannot imagine what they often are called upon to do. It literally is too difficult for me to even think about.

But I’m not only talking about our town. I mean every town, in every city, and every state, and every country. I get chills just thinking about the job they want to do!

What all of our friends in Northern CA (I call them friends, even if I don’t know them), have gone through the last week is devastatingly unthinkable.

Having been a witness to the first puff of smoke in the Oakland hills in 1989, when our church gang came out of Burger King at South Shore, and thinking that doesn’t look right, and what that event became…was mind-blowing.

Now, I stop, and pray that all will be well for those affected, with eyes looking ahead and not back. It demands my mental participation. I pray that I’m up to the challenge. God willing. All is well…even if we can’t see it now.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

This will be very brief. I rode my bike on tour and saw but 3 properties. Then I started driving my car and haven’t been on my bike since. Too smokey.

Broker Tour Tues 12

New 12 including my new listing at 2872 Baywalk Road. We can start showing it starting with the open house on Sunday 2-4p.

PCH price change 4

BOM back on market 1

Pending 11

Sold 10

Expired 1

W/C withdrawn canceled 2

Alameda Real Estate Awards this week

It was a bit of a ‘meh’ for multi-units.

That’s a wrap! If you have the chance come by my new listing (see above) and we can jaw around for awhile!

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | October 10th, 2017

Risk Rate Relationship

Regardless of what a lender quotes on mortgage rates, the actual rate a borrower pays is based on a number of variables. Lenders determine whether to loan money and at what rate based on the risk involved with the transaction.Sorry not available.png

Factors that increase the risk that the loan will be repaid will proportionately increase the interest rate charged to the borrower. If the risk becomes too high, the loan will not be approved.

  • Loan amounts – conventional mortgages above conforming limits as set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considered jumbo loans and generally have a higher interest rate.
  • FICO score – the lowest interest rate is reserved for the highest score; the lower the score, the higher the rate the borrower will pay.
  • Occupancy – borrowers occupying a home as their principal residence are considered a better loan risk than second homes and investment properties.
  • Loan purpose – purchase transactions generally have the lowest interest rate with refinancing for better rates and terms being priced slightly higher. An even higher rate might be charged for refinancing and taking cash out of the property.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio – a borrower’s monthly liabilities divided by their gross monthly income develops a ratio that helps lenders to assess the borrower’s ability to repay the mortgage.
  • Property Type – some types of property are considered higher risk than others which could adversely affect the rate.
  • Loan-to-value – the lower the percentage of the loan to the appraised value of the property will generally lower the interest rate.

Any combination of these factors could limit a borrower’s ability to secure a mortgage at the rate initially quoted. Pre-approval by a trusted mortgage professional can be the best way to know what rate you can expect to pay. Please call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional.

THE SECOND STORY | October 5th, 2017

ROI = Rate of Return in Alameda?

Resale ROI

The rate of return makes a difference on items that are practical. But in A-town, location tops most everything, regardless of whether the market is good or not so good, or totally fixed up or not so much.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tues 10

New 15

Pending 23

Sold 16

Expired 4

(No awards this week! I didn’t get out on the tour!)

Total Active Listings 64

Total Pending Listings 70

That’s it for this week!

Carry on! Enjoy the daylight…days are getting shorter!  bummer…

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | October 3rd, 2017

Pre-approval is Good for Everyone

Buyer’s mortgage pre-approval is good for everyone in the transaction. It saves time, money and removes the uncertainty of knowing whether the buyer will be qualified after negotiating a contract. The direct benefits include:

  • Looking at “Right” homes – price, size, amenities, locationPre-approval is good for everyone.png
  • Find the best loan – rate, term, type
  • Uncover credit issues early – time to cure possible problems
  • Negotiating power – price, terms, & timing
  • Close quicker – verifications have been made

There is a significant difference in having a trusted mortgage professional take a loan application and run all the necessary verifications compared to going through calculators on a lender’s website. Beside the peace of mind, the cost of being pre-approved is a bargain and generally, limited to the cost of the credit report.

Even if a person has been pre-approved, a second opinion from a different lender may be a good option. It can verify there is a good deal or you’ll discover that you can improve it. Either way, it works to your advantage. Contact me if you’d like a recommendation of a trusted mortgage officer.

THE SECOND STORY | September 28th, 2017

Should Alameda have DecoBikes?

Follow me on my ‘for fun’ blog! 

DecoBikes in San Diego, maybe Alameda?

I was with my family in San Diego this past weekend, including the 2 that live in New Zealand). Three of us rented DecoBikes, near our hotel…and we rode along the shoreline, near the Maritime Museum, parked and turned in our bikes, and took tours of 3 of the 8 ships.

(I rested after wrestling my way through the WWII Russian submarine.)

There were photos of Alameda, back in the day, when The Alaska Packers ships were heading north to catch salmon.

Then we rented the bikes again, when we wanted to head back towards the hotel.

We may not have the weather to keep a bike rental biz busy…but to get around to places throughout Alameda, park the bikes and walk away…that’s kind of amazing.

All you need is the app on your phone, a credit card, and in return, you get a 3-speed bike (with basket), and hand brakes. No people involved but the bike riders.

Imagine if more folks rode bikes (like DecoBikes) to and from the ferries, instead of figuring out where to park their cars or worrying about finding a place to park a bike on the ferry!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

New 18

PCH price change 5  

BOM back on market 1

Pending 14

Sold 7

WC withdrawn canceled 2

Alameda Real Estate Awards this Week

Winner of the Week 

Pool house clean this pool! It wasn’t cleaned on the Broker Tour.

Total Active Listings on the Market 76 more than the pending!

Total Pending Listings on the Market 62

Enjoy the weekend! best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | September 26th, 2017

Easier to Play the Game

It’s much easier to play a game when you know the rules so you can avoid mistakes that may keep you from winning. Homeownership isn’t a game but there are some rules that will protect your investment and increase your enjoyment.

Most people want a home of their own to raise their family, share with their friends and to feel safe and secure. In most cases, it is also their largest asset. These suggestions can help protect your investment and make homeownership more enjoyable.12519621-250.jpg

  • Don’t overpay for your home
  • Maintain your home to protect its value
  • Minimize your assessed value to lower property taxes
  • Make extra contributions to save interest and build equity
  • Validate the insured value of improvements and contents
  • Be aware of current surrounding property values
  • Make mortgage interest payments deductible
  • Invest in capital improvements that increase market value
  • Don’t over-improve the neighborhood comparables
  • Keep records of capital improvement & other maintenance

We’d like to be your personal source of real estate information and we’re committed to helping from purchase to sale and all the years in between. If you need assistance with any of the items mentioned in this article or need a recommendation for a service provider, it would be our pleasure to help.