THE SECOND STORY | August 14th, 2008

Computer Games, Olympic Games, and a Rat Race

Last Friday I opened an email with the subject “CNN daily top 10 events.” And that became a headline event in my small world. All kinds of poo-poo started happening to my computer. Son Evan found a fix (mostly) and emailed me the link. That was a huge help but it was obvious that there was much more going on.

Monday The Neighborhood Computer Guy yeah, that’s what he calls himself (and he’s totally AWESOME) came over and upon my description of the issues shared a charming phrase “it’s the blue screen of death!” Not so good I guess.

My less-than-one-year-old computer (not a cheap investment) now has a new hard drive. Chasing that down was an adventure I could have lived without. Now comes the work to find files that seem hidden and deal with associated glitches. And almost every program I am using looks new to me! Like where were those before in the past year?

Watching the master work today, I laughed every time the he quietly commented “I win!” I felt I was watching an event in the computer Olympics right in my home office.

Speaking of Olympics, I am completely swept up with what is taking place in Beijing. I am so amazed and impressed with the athletes. But I am fascinated with what must go on to make these broadcasts, across all media, happen. The years of planning, timing, and making the technology mesh. The new tricks of such immediate information superimposed on the viewing screens. I can honestly say that I even appreciate the quality of most of the commercials and am actually grateful for them. I cannot imagine what I’d be paying per view to see quality like this otherwise. And HD is wonderful.

The Rat Race took place while we were in Edinburgh, Scotland. Check it out and expect to see more like it in the US.

REMEMBER! FREE RECYCLING OF ELECTRONIC ITEMS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY 9-3PM. ALAMEDA TOWNE CENTRE, old Safeway parking lot across from Mervyns. For info: http://www.unwaste.com/ 888-832-9839

Real estate this week in Alameda….

Active Listings 213, 224 last report

Pending Listings 62, 54 last report

Tuesday Tour – Click Here to View Listings

New 12 Click Here to View Listings

Price changes 2 Click Here to View Listings

Pending 16 Click Here to View Listings

Sold 8 Click Here to View Listings

Back on Market (BOMs) 0

Expired & withdrawn (some show up as new) 8 Click Here to View Listings

Listing Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!

Winner of the Week Click Here to View Listings I had this listed and it sold years ago.

Bang for the Buck Click Here to View Listings same as cute/charming

Cute/charming Click Here to View Listings

Get me a facelift not this week

Grand Dame Click Here to View Listings this has been on the market for over 3 months but until last week had not been on the Broker Tour and then the time was not correct. The agent had it open again this week and I stepped through.

Got me a makeover not this week not this week

Get me to rehab not this week

I’m out of rehab not this week not this week

Looking for trends….I’ll keep an eye out for something interesting.

If you need vendor referrals, let me know!

Enjoy the weekend! marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | August 7th, 2008

Watch the Neighbors (Neighborhood Watch!)

Tuesday evening was the annual National Night Out .
Alameda has a number of neighborhoods active in the Neighborhood Watch program. We’ve been hosts for the summer gathering on our front porch for many years and it really is a chance for busy people to stand around and jaw for a bit. We catch up with each other, meet new residents, share concerns, have a delicious cake I buy from Costco, and often have a visit from several local police officers and McGruff, the crime dog. It’s great to hear from the police themselves about happenings or issues around town. Interested? I can give you the name of the Alameda Police Department contact and you can set up your own Watch program. It’s not a big deal. I only put out one notice and one email one time per year, unless we need to get everybody’s attention for some reason. Everybody wins….

Cre-cycle (creative recycling) idea!
“I can see clearly now…”
I’ve never been able to toss those wonderful plastic zippered bags that typically contain bed linens or pillowcases. Now I’ve found a couple of uses for them. Because they have real zippers and the plastic is thicker, they don’t tear as easily. Because they are more box-like in shape, they hold more.

When traveling, if your checked bags are inspected, having see-through bags makes the inspection by officials easier and quicker. Plus it’s a lot less hassle to find your stuff when you can see it! For all the rules, including those regarding your carry on stuff check out the Transportation Security Administration website before you start packing.

And when I started creating my tool bucket, I found those same bags perfect for all the smaller items I wanted to keep together (smaller screw drivers, tapes, random nails and screws). Seems to me if we’re buying the product we should use the packaging.Have some clever ideas? Share them here!

Real estate this week in Alameda….

I put 960 Shorepoint Court #101 on the market today! This is a really nice 1/1 condo. Check it out!

Active Listings 224, 221 last report
Pending Listings 54, 62 last report

Tuesday Tour – Click Here to View Listings

New 14 Click Here to View Listings

Price changes 11 Click Here to View Listings

Pending 8 Click Here to View Listings

Sold 14 Click Here to View Listings

Back on Market (BOMs) 1 Click Here to View Listings

Expired & withdrawn (some show up as new) 12 Click Here to View Listings

Listing Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!
Winner of the week not this week

Bang for the Buck Click Here to View Listings

Cute/charming Click Here to View Listings

Get me a facelift Click Here to View Listings

Got me a makeover not this week

Get me to rehab Click Here to View Listings

I’m out of rehab not this week

Looking for trends….I’ll keep an eye out for something interesting.


If you need vendor referrals, let me know!

Enjoy the weekend! marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | July 31st, 2008

“It’s another stone wall…”

The trip to Scotland was terrific! Each day home I become more aware of how special it was. I am only just now realizing how much we did, what we saw, what we experienced.

The title of this post is the result of a comment I overheard while at the castle pictured above, just one of many I/we visited. I was walking in the gun court – a grassy elevated yard within the castle perimeter. Fixed canons pointed outward to the water from which an attack might have come hundreds of years ago.

Behind me I heard a lady somewhat quietly but wryly remark, “It’s another stone wall.” As I burst out laughing, agreeing with her observation, I turned and saw she was talking to her husband who wanted her to take a picture of him with their teenage son who was not thrilled with another Kodak moment. When she heard me cracking up she started laughing. “You won’t even know where it is!” I muttered “You got that right.” And the husband said “Whhaat!” having no clue about why we were laughing.
Scotland rocks. And in Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburah – the rgh is like a syllable) the largest rock is called Arthur’s Seat and it’s over 800 feet above sea level. Prefering my bike to hiking, but not having that option, I decided to join Evan and Erin on the hike, praying I wouldn’t humiliate myself. (Photo courtesy of some website.)

They were very considerate of me and we made it to the top. Here is the victory photo in the screaming wind at the top of the big rock.

Most of the trip I walked behind them because they walk faster than me. But(t) I have lots of pictures of their cute backsides. Ahhh, I digress.

Real estate this week in Alameda….
909 San Antonio closed today. Original list was 719K, closed for 660K.
Active Listings 221, 206 last report
Pending Listings 62, 82 last report

Tuesday Tour – link to listings

I’ve attempted to identify the properties that have come on the market in the last 21 days and that are still active (have not gone pending or sold). Note that some of the listings may have changed status more than once during that period.

Price changes 51 Click Here to View Listings

Back on Market (BOMs) 11 Click Here to View Listings
Expired & withdrawn (some show up as new) 30 Click Here to View Listings

Listing Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!

Winner of the week Click Here to View Listings

Bang for the Buck Click Here to View Listings

Cute/charming Click Here to View Listings

Get me a facelift Click Here to View Listings

Got me a makeover Click Here to View Listings

Get me to rehab Click Here to View Listings

I’m out of rehab (not this week).

Looking for trends....I’ll keep an eye out for something interesting.

Enjoy the weekend! marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | July 8th, 2008

Taking time….

The Second Story will be searching for refreshment, inspiration, and a non-electronic experience in places heretofore not explored and will commence updates the end of July. For assistance with any and all of your real estate needs please call my voice mail 510-814-4709 for my partner info! C YA!

THE SECOND STORY | July 6th, 2008

Elvis and Charlie want to know about May and June sales in Alameda!

Hi all,

I hope you’ve had a safe, fun, restful, Independence Day weekend! The parade was its usual unique self and it really is a treat to walk a couple of blocks to see it! It’s like having half the people I know in Alameda walk, ride, drive, right by me!

Are you hands-free yet? If not, as a result of my own terrific consumer experience, I’d like to suggest that you consider using a new Alameda company located in the Harbor Bay Shopping Center, SMART Phone and Photo. Lars Stenstedt has made this a multi-generational family biz and offers wonderful service. He actually tests the device with you and your own phone, rather than throwing it in a bag, and throwing you out the door. And add to that…his prices are more than competitive! Let him know that Marilyn Schumacher sent you his way!

This blog, The Second Story, is allowing me to present a fresh look and a more consistent view of what was previously the private weekly email update that I sent out for over eight years to clients who requested it.

In an attempt to get me to upload the monthly newsletter myself on my website my webmeister showed me a couple of years ago how simple it would be. Ugh! I do real estate, not web code. But the blog has made life easier, thus the changes.
You’ll see links to the properties. The side benefit is that you can see the properties along with any photos and/or virtual tours of the listings.

For this update, I’m putting both May and June sales activities together.

Marilyn’s take on the market…
Yes, the market is slower. Yes, prices are down. Yes, Alameda is actually doing okay compared to other areas. Not as good as San Francisco, San Mateo, or Silicon Valley, but fine nonetheless.

Yes, rates are up a bit. And really YES…the costs of financing are up a lot. Lenders want to see 20% down, if it’s not there large fees are being charged for PMI or MI (private mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance). You may be seeing more loans with more points attached to them. What is sad is that the folks with real downpayments are being whipped by the lenders who are trying to recoup their losses. Pathetic.

Yes, there are foreclosed properties here in Alameda. You may hear them referred to as REO’s. That means Real Estate Owned (by the bank). The property is then listed (which could take several months) with an ‘approved’ real estate brokerage company. Don’t expect to see a lot of marketing done on these. And when a property is REO, the lender is exempt from any disclosures.

So what’s a short sale? The owner(s) still owns it but owes more than it’s worth. The property gets listed with a brokerage (often at a way low price to generate activity), and offers are reviewed by the owners. Once one is ratified, it is sent along to the lender(s). There could be more than one lender. They all have to approve the amounts they are being asked to give up. So it’s like have lots more owners. And it often takes a lot of time- weeks or months to get answers from the lenders. People think they may be getting a ‘steal’ but maybe not…the market does have a way of finding its own level. Plus at the last minute more liens can show up…like unpaid alimony or child support, or IRS liens. And that makes things very messy. Properties are often left a mess too.

In the early 1990’s similar transactions took place when the federal governemtn decided to close under-utilized military bases. Get it? That includes Alameda Naval Air Station! The state had to move out of a military based economy – we had huge government contracts with the military up and down the state that disappeared- and many civilian and some military employees were wiped out. I handled quite a few of those back then.

This time all of the mess is rooted in pure greed starting with unscrupulous lenders who made loans that were doomed to fail from the outset (and who often falsified the loan papers), all the way up the food chain to those who securitized the loans and rated the investments as AAA and sold them in the stock market. I think we are just starting to see the beginning of a long list of fraud prosecutions that will come out.

Sold in May and June 2008
Note 1 -Days on Market (DOM) may not be accurate IF the agent churned the listing and inserted it as new, once a 30 day period of being of the market was completed OR if it was reinserted as new with a slight modification of the street address (Ave. became Avenue, or was dropped from the address). It’s game playing at its worst. They think we are all dumb.

Note 2 – These averages lump junk with extravagance, water properties with every other type of location, and old with new. If you have questions about a specific property, let me know.

2 bedroom single family homes 21
Click Here to View Listings
DOM 24
Average sale price $540,309

3 bedroom single family homes 19
Click Here to View Listings
DOM 37
Average sale price $696,664

4 bedroom single family homes 12
Click Here to View Listings
DOM 27
Average sale price $878,931

2 bedroom apartment style condos
Click Here to View Listings
DOM 46
Average sale price $343,750

3 bedroom townhomes 6
Click Here to View Listings
DOM 32
Average sale price $426,685

4 unit apartment buildings 0

IF you’d like to receive an email notification that weekly version of The Second Story has been posted, (check out eariler postings below this) let me know and I can add you to the gang list (which does NOT show recipient contact info). Getting off that list is as easy as getting on! I promise!

THE SECOND STORY | July 3rd, 2008

Exploding memories…

Nothing says July in Alameda like the blooming jacaranda trees and the 4th of July Parade! What shows they provide!

The first house my parents owned was in Fullerton. I think we moved there when I was about two. The oldest of my three younger brothers was born when we lived there. At the end of the street was an orange grove. Maxine, a lady with very exotic sunglasses, painted nails (hands and toes), bright lipstick, and a wild collection of flip-flops, who lived across the street, is my first memory of a neighbor.

My father had the ‘dad-ly’ job of buying Red Devil boxes of ‘home’ fireworks. Kids got to light sparklers and those stupid round things that oozed into worms made of ash. Even the duds got ooohs and aahhhs! A couple of times my dad took me up on the roof of that single level house so we could watch the fireworks from Disneyland way off in the distance.

Now, flash to Carl and me being the parents of an eight month old daughter, living here in Alameda, on Janis Circle. It was our first owned-home, actually a duplex, half a block from Edison School, off of Pearl between Santa Clara and Lincoln. (Maybe it should be declared an hysterical landmark….). I think Carl was racing on a sailboat to Hawaii on the Transpac which typically started around July 4th. He had quit his job working for a local yacht designer when Sutter was six months old and opened his own office in our laundry room. My job at that time involved teaching glider flying, which then evolved into airplane flying: commercial, multi-engine, instrument ratings, and flight instructor single engine land (vs. sea) planes.

For two days after July 4th, I had smelled wafts smoke. I’d walk around the perimeter of the house looking, sniffing, but just couldn’t find anything. One of my flying buddies had dropped by and as we were talking in the living room, a fire truck with siren blasting, rolled into the cul-de-sac. I threw Sutter into Mark’s arms and said “hold the baby while I find out what’s on fire!”

By the time I got to the other side of the duplex, the fire was out. Here’s what happened. The lady across the street, who walked her cat on a leash, (well she kept her cat on a leash but they never walked anywhere), looked over to our yard and saw the grape stake fence that separated our duplex from the one next door, burst into flames. It was about four feet from our tenant’s kitchen window. She called 911. For some reason she didn’t come over to let me or our tenant know something was slightly amiss, but oh well. Maybe the cat didn’t want to move.

Once the fire was out the firefighters found the cause. On the other side of the brittle grape stake fence, in our next door neighbor’s yard, was a dried out wood plant container with a dead plant AND the smoldering remnants of a bottle rocket, most likely launched the night of July 4. AHA! That’s what I had been smelling for 2 days.

Fireworks up close and personal have never been one of my favorite things yet I love a good professionally managed pyrotechnic show from a safe distance. But that event on Janis Circle was certainly not professionally done from a safe distance.

I am grateful the neighbor took her cat for a sit. I am grateful she had the presence of mind to call 911. I am grateful Mark dropped by. I am VERY grateful for the quick response of our fire department. I am grateful the bottle rocket didn’t land on our 30+ year old heavy shake roof. And I’m grateful Alameda outlaws fireworks. And disappointed that so many break the law.

Be safe.

Real estate this week in Alameda….

3900 Fairway closed last week for 421K on a 399K list. 3 offers were received and the perfect buyers who had previously restored their first home and sold it over a year ago and had 20% down, fell in love with the house!
909 San Antonio went pending last week….contingencies are in the process of being removed in the next 10 days.

Active Listings 206, 201 last week
Pending Listings 79, 84 last week

Tuesday Tour Click Here to View Listings

New Click Here to View Listings 16

Price changes Click Here to View Listings 9

Pending Click Here to View Listings 13

Sold Click Here to View Listings 19

Back on Market (BOMs) 0

Expired & withdrawn (some show up as new) Click Here to View Listings

Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!

Bang for the Buck Click Here to View Listings this came on the market 7/05 for 899.99K, dropped to 859K and did not sell. It came back on the market and sold 11/05 for 860K on a 859K list price. It then came on the market for 925K kn 10/06, dropped to 898K and did not sell. It is now on the market for 849K.

Cute/charming Click Here to View Listings

Get me to rehab Click Here to View Listings clean but it needs a complete floor plan re-do.

The awards below eagerly await worthy recipients of which there were none this week!
Winner of the Week

Got me a makeover
I’m out of rehab
Get me a facelift
Looking for trends….

We’ve been tracking the Gold Coast properties since there are a few of them.

1208 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings PENDING as of 6/18 No broker tour, tough to show…

1611 San Antonio Click Here to View Listings PRICE REDUCTION from 1.175K to 1.139K. Was pending for a few days after about 30 DOM, then BOM.

1600 Dayton Click Here to View Listings

1234 Hawthorne Click Here to View Listings BOM this week.

1250 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings SOLD one primary buyer stepped up to the plate. No exposure to market.

1260 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings EXPIRED listing owned by the bank.

Enjoy the long weekend! marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | June 26th, 2008

Cycle and cre-cycle!

“Look, here comes Marilyn on her bike. She’s wearing the helmet that she hates and that stupid crossing guard vest that she loves. She’s got that ‘step-aside-please’ bell, too. And those flashing lights. But wait…what’s that behind her?”

Yep, I’m once again using the same bike trailer I used to tote 2 kids and 3 bags of groceries in! It’s got some serious miles on it, and was one of only three in Alameda back in the late 1970’s. People either applauded us or cursed us.

Mostly ignored but never forgotten, the trailer was retrofitted by Carl the year before he passed on, using a windsurfer mast/boom quick-connect fitting to attach the cart to the bike when the original fitting broke after many years of excellent service. The new tires make it an easy tow.

Did I make up a new word? “Cre-cycle” is short for creative recycle. For instance, these shopping/tote bags are made of 100% genuine recycled plastic bags. These are a more current version to replace the canvas bags I gave away to my clients the past few years. They are bigger , sturdier, and fold smaller! If you are a client and would like one…let me know and I’ll get it to you. Warning! Wash and air dry…I won’t be responsible for a plastic melt-down in your dryer!

Another cre-cycle idea…instead of automatically tossing plastic containers, cut the bottoms off and use them for water-catchers for your potted plants. If you buy milk or juice in plastic bottles, cre-cycle the whole thing: keep the screw lid on and use the rest of the container as scoop for dirt, dry pet food, or a boat bailer.

OPERA IN THE OUTFIELD WAS AWESOME! The amazing simulcast, fabulous sound, singing the Star Spangled Banner accompanied by the SF Opera Orchestra and opera house patrons, open seating, English subtitles, singing Take Me Out to the Opera during the 7th inning stretch (intermission) also accompanied by the orchestra, garlic fries, picnics, casual clothes, walking around if you are bored, view of the boats racing/drifting on the bay off McCovey Cove, and FREE! Could be opera at it’s easiest!

Real estate this week in Alameda….
Active Listings 201, 198 last week
Pending Listings 84, 84 last week

Tuesday Tour Click Here to View Listings

New Click Here to View Listings 16 (1607 High sold in ’06 for 899K, sold in ’07 for 940 on a list of 929K, now on market for 899K)

Price changes Click Here to View Listings 6

Pending Click Here to View Listings 18

Sold Click Here to View Listings 12

Back on Market (BOMs) Click Here to View Listings 3

Expired & withdrawn (some show up as new) Click Here to View Listings

Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!

Winner of the Week & Bang for the Buck Click Here to View Listings

Cute/charming Click Here to View Listings pending already

Get me a facelift Click Here to View Listings

Get me to rehab Click Here to View Listings closed for 899K 10/05 and was very attractive. A fire occurred and it appears both time and money ran out. Now a short sale for 799K.

The awards below eagerly await worthy recipients of which there were none this week!
Got me a makeover
I’m out of rehab

Looking for trends….We’ve been tracking the Gold Coast properties since there are a few of them.

1208 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings PENDING as of 6/18 No broker tour, tough to show…

1611 San Antonio Click Here to View Listings PRICE REDUCTION from 1.175K to 1.139K. Was pending for a few days after about 30 DOM, then BOM.

1600 Dayton Click Here to View Listings

1234 Hawthorne Click Here to View Listings CONTINGENT on sale of another property.

1250 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings SOLD one primary buyer stepped up to the plate. No exposure to market.

1260 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings EXPIRED listing owned by the bank.Have a good weekend! Give a call if you have real estate questions or vendor referrals!

Have a great weekend! marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | June 19th, 2008

It’s a monversation

I was having lunch with a dear friend last week at Jim’s (on Lincoln) and we were talking about blogging. She wanted to get the hang what it was supposed to do. I said it was website-lite. It was the voice of the writer attempting to reach out to certain readers sans newspaper or book. It was a monversation – kind of a blend of a monologue with a conversation. Two-way at the reader’s option but mostly one way from the writer.

Side note: son Evan, the jock/techno guy emailed a comment “I love the new format – it’s really coming together and looks very good!” One reason he must have said that must be because I haven’t had to ask him one thing about how to do this. So that made my week. Sutter, well, she’s gracioiusly fielded some questions since she’s now on her second blog (see sidebar right).

Some of you know I play at golf. Last week was a golfer’s heaven on earth with the US Open being such an amazing championship. We’ve been fortunate to play at Torrey Pines in San Diego. It is a fantastic site. As the ocean breezes are forced up the cliffs the paragliders can practically dip onto the greens! I took this the last time we played there.

Did ya see or hear the helicopters over the shoreline on Tuesday? Oil was showing up on the beach. I rode my bike over to check out the activity and talked with a member of the Coast Guard. The media were all over the story by land and by air. I cannot imagine what it costs to have news helicopters hover and cover the story over the beach and then have the news vans and personnel on the ground. I took this picture about 11am Wed morning.

Music update….the Concert at the Cove had a terrific turnout last Friday but it seems a heavy rock cover band just doesn’t have the cross generational appeal for sing-alongs and dancing. I think it is so funny to have those who want to imbibe alcohol agree to be fenced inside that orange mesh stuff. Trapped! The July and August concerts look to be great, though!

Late this afternoon, after I rode my bike over to show the listing at 909 San Antonio (price reduction from 721K to 694K to now 674K), I pedaled over to the Farmer’s Market on Webster. The peaches should make a great cobbler for company on Saturday!

Then I headed over to Alameda Towne Centre (I like to call it Towny Centry) to check out its weekly summer Thurs eve concert. The sound was similar to Steely Dan and rather repetitive. But what do I know. Check out the schedule and mark your calendar. There are some HOT gigs coming up and some have already passed us by. The shopping center is looking really lovely.

I’m gonna get culture for FREE tomorrow with the perfect blend of opera and the ballpark (that’s the San Francisco Opera being simulcast at the ATT Ballpark). If this weather holds it could be an amazing night.

Real estate this week in Alameda….
Okay, I’m going to tell you something that really irks me. Over the past 3 years in my non-public weekly email updates for my clients (in existence for over 8 years) I’ve talked about ‘churning’ listings on the MLS. Agents would withdraw a listing and immediaely re-insert it as NEW. Then the ‘days on market’ count would start back at zero effectively wiping out the time previously on the market. Obvously this skews the days-on-market time especially when reporting agencies are gathering data for public consumption.

In response, the MLS came up with a rule that a listing could not be re-inserted as NEW unless 30 days had passed since it was withdrawn from the market. Fair enough.

Now for about the past year, we’ve seen old listings being inserted as NEW listings by a slight modification of the address. And now lots more. For instance, the address 123 Cherry Lane shows up when it is first listed. Then in order to show up NEW and avoid the 30 day rule, the agent re-inserts it as 123 Cherry, dropping the Lane.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, be sure your agent does some serious drill-down work so you get the most accurate info about time on the market.

Active Listings 198, 194 last week
Pending Listings 84, 85 last week

NOTE! I’m throwing in the houseboats (floating homes) and the Woodstock Co-op units even though neither of them is considered real estate. They show up on the MLS and I’ve weeded them out for the past 8 years but…oh well. The former is considered personal property and the latter is ownership of a stock certificate.

Tuesday Tour Click Here to View Listings

New Click Here to View Listings 24

Price changes Click Here to View Listings 17

Pending Click Here to View Listings 16

Sold Click Here to View Listings 11

Back on Market (BOMs) 0

Expired & withdrawn (some show up as new) Click Here to View Listings 14

Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!

Winner of the Week Click Here to View Listings and also cute and bang!
I had this listed a few years ago when the current owners bought it. My clients in turn purchased a bank-owned property in the Gold Coast (ahead of its time, eh?)

Cute/charming same as Winner!
Bang for the Buck same as Winner!

These awards await worthy recipients of which there were none this week!
Get me a facelift
Got me a makeover
Get me to rehab – not this week
I’m out of rehab

Looking for trends….We’ve been tracking the Gold Coast properties since there are a few of them.

1208 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings PENDING as of 6/18 No broker tour, tough to show…

1611 San Antonio Click Here to View Listings PRICE REDUCTION from 1.175K to 1.139K. Was pending for a few days after about 30 DOM, then BOM.

1600 Dayton Click Here to View Listings

1234 Hawthorne Click Here to View Listings CONTINGENT on sale of another property.

1250 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings SOLD one primary buyer stepped up to the plate. No exposure to market.

1260 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings EXPIRED listing owned by the bank.

Have a good weekend! Give a call if you have real estate questions or vendor referrals!

THE SECOND STORY | June 12th, 2008

Blah Blah Blogging

I’m so excited – with a calm thought and a bit of luck I’m starting to figure this gig out….The goal is to work smarter with an effective end-result!

But I decided I needed a book about blog tricks and tips. So I attached the bike trailer to the bike this evening and ran errands at Alameda Towne Centre, first stop the new Borders. I found a great title …Nobody Cares What You Had for Lunch. But I bought the standard Blogging for Dummies.

Remember this evening, Friday the 13th, is the first of the Concerts at the Cove. Should be a terrific night for it! Take your bike, take a chair, buy some food and drink, dance a bit! Enjoy SUMMER (well, it’s almost here – sorry Sutter and Sean, that you are in winter in New Zealand.)

AND you can enjoy the San Francisco Opera for FREE on Friday eve, the 20th, at the ATT Ballpark….

I’m making a habit of taking my camera on the broker tour. Last week I spotted this van with a great advertisement…it made me look twice. And it turns out it’s a company I’ve referred a couple of clients to over the years! I thought the graphic and description just said it all! Bravo!

And what a gorgeous series of days we’ve had….I do high heat only around the grill. So I thought Tuesday’s tour was going to be a scorcher. But the lovliest breeze wrapped around me starting from home, and continued the rest of the bike ride and the day: out to the tip of Bay Farm, along the shoreline park, along High Street to the Fernside neighborhood, straight up to 4th Street, back over to 9th and Central, and home again. What wonderful benefits of selling real estate in Alameda! (The second before I took this photo on Tuesday, Mr. Seagull added a splash of white to the post he was perched on. Lovely.)

Real estate this week in Alameda….

The listing at 3900 Fairway, Oakland received 3 offers last Friday and went pending that night. This is a classic example of having a price that attracts a bevy of buyers who can see through numerous challenges posed by a property – some of which are fixable, and some that can never be changed.

I’ll be holding 909 San Antonio open Sunday 2-4pm, come by and say hi!

Active Listings 194, 196 last week
Pending Listings 85, 81 last week

Tuesday Tour Click Here to View Listings
Indicative of the market: The house at 1815 Harvard went pending 2 days after it was on tour….in 1998 it sold for 488.5K on a list of 479K. In 2005 it sold for 960K on a list of 849K. Now it’s listed for 969K.

New Click Here to View Listings 11

Price changes Click Here to View Listings 17

Pending Click Here to View Listings 11

Sold Click Here to View Listings 8

Back on Market (BOMs) Click Here to View Listings 1

Expired & withdrawn Click Here to View Listings 10

Awards this week….remember – this is only my perspective!

Winner of the Week Click Here to View Listings

Bang for the buck Click Here to View Listings (same as Winner)

Cute/Charming Click Here to View Listings tie!

Get me a facelift Click Here to View Listings

Got me a makeover Click Here to View Listings (same as Winner, Bang!)

Get me to rehab – not this week

I’m out of rehab Click Here to View Listings

Looking for trends….
We’ve been tracking the Gold Coast properties since there are a few of them.

1208 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings no broker tour, tough to show…

1611 San Antonio Click Here to View Listings was pending for a few days, then back on the market this week.

1600 Dayton Click Here to View Listings

1234 Hawthorne Click Here to View Listings (contingent on sale of another property

1250 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings SOLD a couple of weeks ago – no broker tour, no open houses, one primary buyer who stepped up to the plate.

1260 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings expired listing owned by the bank.

Have a good weekend! Give a call if you have real estate questions.

THE SECOND STORY | June 5th, 2008

Drought? Try a new ground cover…

A couple of weeks ago I was walking by a neighbor’s house. Steve and a friend were working on a new sail, prepping it for a big race series…so it was spread over the whole front yard. It was getting a few stares as folks wondered what it was. Looked like a type of protective sheathing for the yard….a new type of ground cover.
Maybe we’ll need to consider alternatives to lawns now that we have two official droughts as noted by The Governator who declared the state dried up financially a few months ago, and now this week said we are running out of water.

The feedback for the blog has been terrific….and encouraging. The past few days I’ve been able to figure out how to embed hyperlinks, and when those get clicked on, a second window opens now, rather than wiping out the blog window and having to start over. And obviously, since this gig is now public, you no longer have to honor my request each year that you won’t forward it to those who aren’t my clients….I’ve thrown caution to the wind!

At this point I can’t get the property lists (viewed previously in the weekly update as tables) into the blog. So for now we go with the links! The upside is you can see the customer version of the mls entry and more photos and maybe a virtual tour if the agent has purchase and installed one. Again, your input is very helpful!

Last Friday I rode up to the ferry at Alameda Point, put the bike on and enjoyed the misty view of San Francisco. I had time either side of my meeting with some bay area real estate agents, the purpose of which was to hash over our respective markets and share insights about our work. I took in The Market Place at the Ferry Plaza when I arrived, and then cruised down to the ball park before I returned to Alameda.

And while the ferry doesn’t travel close to the new construction of the Bay Bridge, last fall we took the photo to the right as we motored around the bay in the Hubba Hubba. Hey, I just came up with a Haiku:

A great getaway

the ferries around the bay
for hours or a day.

Real estate this week in Alameda….

I put a new listing on the market last Friday… 3900 Fairway, Oakland Check out the website for photos, the video and virtual tour, floorplan, and reports. It’s a lot of bang for the buck (2000+ sf for 399K) IFf a buyer loves totally original details back to 1929 AND the chance (read $) to bring it into the 21st century. It is near Keller, just of Mountain Blvd. in Sequoyah Hills. It is generating a ton of interest.

Once again this week the number of pending sales indicates buyers are starting to make their moves (literally!).

And note the number of closed sales this week. Several of those are at Bayport….folks have been getting some pretty good bang for the buck there, if a yard is not important. The developer continues to beg agents to bring them buyers and offers commissions if the agent walks in with the prospect and signs them up BEFORE the buyers walk in by themselves. Of course, there is no obligation for a buyer to buy – he/she is just registered with the on-site sales staff. and they have their own agent if they choose. I can’t say what others do, when I’ve sold new homes I’ve had my clients get property inspections, preferably with an inspector who has been trained for code compliance. Rather than shoving a ‘punch list’ at the buyer and saying check it out…the inspector does the job and you might be shocked at what is either undone, incorrectly done, ignored, or broken. Let me know if you have questions.

Active Listings 196, Pending Listings 81

Tuesday Tour Click Here to View Listings

New 15 Click Here to View Listings

Price changes 4 Click Here to View Listings

Pending 21 Click Here to View Listings

Sold 16 Click Here to View Listings

Back on Market (BOMs) 4 Click Here to View Listings

Expired 5 Click Here to View Listings

Withdrawn from market (temporarily or cancelled) 7 Click Here to View Listings

Looking for trends….
We’ve been tracking the Gold Coast properties since there are a few of them.

1208 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings no broker tour, tough to show…

1611 San Antonio Click Here to View Listings was pending for a few days last week, back on the market this week.

1600 Dayton Click Here to View Listings

1234 Hawthorne Click Here to View Listings (contingent on sale of another property

1250 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings SOLD a couple of weeks ago – no broker tour, no open houses, one primary buyer who stepped up to the plate.

1260 Saint Charles Click Here to View Listings expired listing owned by the bank.

Awards this week….nothing struck me as worthy….very few new listings but a good bike ride nonetheless.

Have a good weekend! I’ll be around, working in the yard, returning calls, and trying to reduce the learning curve for blogging!