THE SECOND STORY | February 26th, 2009

Common sense, common decency, common courtesy…federal, state, local

(This picture is from the top floor of a condo at Marina Village with the lagoon in front, marina in the middle, and estuary in the back. I like the reflection of the not-yet-blooming trees on the water which was dotted with wind-blown blooms from other trees nearby.)

The broker tour was so gorgeous this past Tuesday! The properties didn’t do too much for me but the sunshine sure did! It was the first time in weeks I’ve been able to ride my bike on tour, having hosted a couple of new listings in the past three weeks and then with the rain…

I woke up early on Tuesday morning and started writing. That’s when I came up with the blog title for today.

Common sense – Federal government

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” If ‘they’ want to stimulate things…why not offer some perks to the ones who have played by the rules? How about FORCING the banks who took the bailout money to actually LOAN it to qualified individuals at super-attractive rates instead of hoarding it? How about letting us refi our personal residence loans at lower interest rates and keep the same number of years remaining on the loan(s) in place…not starting over at 30 years? No cash out refis unless you’ve got big equity in the property. Good credit required. That would make credit show up again. How about not charging points on those new or re-cast loans to those who have done the ‘right’ thing for years? How about giving those of us who own property (any property we own, not just personal residences) the choice to expense capital improvements over one to two years, instead of capitalizing (depreciating) the improvements we make (roofs, seismic upgrades, foundations, windows, additions, you name it). That would put a bunch of people to work, eh? And if we can’t get loans to do the work then allow folks to bust into what they may have left in their retirement accounts without penalties? How about letting people into their retirement accounts without penalties for the next couple of years? Oh, here’s an idea….if elected officials don’t pay their taxes….they are immediately fired. Give me a break.

Common decency – California government
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’ve been saying it for over a year…if the state legislators can’t get a budget together in a timely manner, then they cease to get paid until it’s passed. And during that period they don’t get any per diem allowances, no car/gas allowances, and no other perks. Better yet, let’s go to a part-time legislature. We have too much government and they ARE the problem. Professional politicians are passe. Get them back on the streets working with the rest of us, or better yet let them just go back to their lovely lives before politics, where they do so much damage.

Common courtesy – City of Alameda building inspectors
Pretend every customer whose property you enter is a member of the Royal Family. How about carrying covers (booties) to put over your shoes/boots before you enter a property bringing in the debris from wet or dry weather or the last job site? How about a city name tag? I know that’s a tough one since we are in a budget crisis. Based on that, my next idea of having a city shirt might be a bit of a stretch but it would increase the appearance (literally) of professionalism along with how the city wishes to be represented in the field. How about putting back what you take apart? If you pull out an electrical outlet, put it back — don’t leave it for the customer to do. If you turn something off, then turn it back on again (unless it’s unsafe). If you turn something on, then turn it off. If you write on the back of the inspection card the items that still need to be inspected or corrected, how about sticking to the list?

Speaking of the city….we do have one job opening. I received an email Thursday afternoon and confirmed it via phone with Mayor Johnson that Debra Kurita, the City Manager, resigned about 4:15pm. Or maybe we can do more with less….but I do like the fact that David Brandt, as Assistant City Manager will be running the show in the interim.

Alameda real estate this week….

I want to bring to your attention info regarding some financing changes out there. Okay…first it’s a mess. Even the most awesome borrowers are being rung through the ringer by either frightened underwriters OR funders who have run out of money and can’t fund the loans they have comitted to on agreed upon contract dates.

Here are some links for updates:

Condo projects have new rules to meet loan requirements effective March 1

Jumbo loan borrowers are being hit big time with interest rates that have no merit.

First time buyers get a nice, big break.

How does the Bay Area fare with the housing bailout?

Mortgage interest deduction at risk for taxpayers w/ incomes over 250K

Active listings 164, 165 last report
Pending listings 70, 73 last report

Tuesday tour 8 with 2 repeats

Highest priced new listing
Lowest priced new listing

New 3

Price changes 6

BOM (back on market) 1

Pending 9

Sold 8

no expireds or withdrawn/cancelled

Alameda real estate awards this week….remember this is only my perspective!

Only 1 was worthy….really worthy Get me to rehab ! The only thing missing is that it didn’t reek of stench. This is the worst property I’ve ever seen in this town. It hadn’t rained for a day and it was still raining inside the joint. The owner is known as a slumlord in Alameda. The city has petitioned the court which put it into receivorship. I think that is happening on another property this guy owns on Central. Despite the horrific process of getting permission to demolish a property (this is pre 1942 so is on the historical list), it’s a prime candidate. The HAB (Historical Advisory Board) with a hopeful helping hand from the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society, should release their grips on this one. If you drive down Cedar, check out the surrounding properties and see if you think this would be worth Gold Coast prices in that location IF someone got it through rehab. Priced as 3 units for 935K (even the agent knows that is a complete joke) with some nice original details, the cost to restore this mess is beyond comprehension. Expect the price to come down 400-500K in the near future. Sell off what is salvageable and take it down. Very sad.

I’m happy to hear it’s supposed to rain this weekend. I’ll be working on taxes and checking messages. Give a call if you have real estate questions. I’d love to hear your takes on what you’d like to see regarding the bailout….since the country is in the giving mood as a result of so much previous taking, should ALL owners of personal residences, not just the stressed owners and distressed properties, be receiving relief and if so, in what form?

Carry on! Marilyn

Published by


I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!