THE SECOND STORY | May 7th, 2009

Open doors, open houses, open minds

(I took this week’s photo several years ago at a Victorian duplex I had listed. It sold in short order. The preserved hardware was exquisite! For me the symbolism is good…am I opening doors or closing them? With the barrage of media blasts about all things lousy, I find I need to be super selective about what I let into my mental house!)

I have loads of stuff to share this week. We’ll start with a continuation of the door theme. Below is an edited excerpt from an email communication about three weeks ago I wrote to a client whose condo will come on the market in the next week or so. Tim said I could share this. His brother had some input about open houses and how he thought they were important.

Many of you know I am not a fan of repetitive open houses. And many of you know that I call a spade a spade. Open houses are a chance for an agent to set up shop for a couple of hours in a property with the sole intent of trying to find business off those who come through. And that’s fine. But it’s important to realize that over 80% of real estate shopping and property screening is done online these days. I wrote:

I am constantly shocked and dismayed by how few agents use virtual tours, lots of still photos, a floor plan, and then create (read buy) a single-property website that makes for one stop shopping. I even do it for fixer properties! Get the info out there! Better than weekend open houses, let the people attend an open house 24/7 from their desks at work or home (we know it happens all day long), then get the info, then do their drive-by (even that can be virtual via Google), and then call their agent for a private showing. Consumers love it and appreciate it. And for properties located in gated communities, the other residents don’t get upset by having spectators wandering around the site, with no control over where they are going and not knowing if they are a guest or stranger. After all, the owners paid for those gates for a reason. It has seemed to obvious to me how important it is to honor owners’ spaces ever since I started the biz 23 years ago.

As I said, now we take the properties to the world, literally, and it’s their choice to click on it or not. But the game of ‘let ’em come to us’ is over. Yet the same principle has remained constant. IN all markets, good or bad, all momentum (or lack of) starts with PRICE. Get it right and get it right early on. If it’s not right…adjust it to the point the private showings start, and then offers (or lack thereof) will reflect what the market thinks.’

Financing subjects:
-Check out some details involving national efforts for preventing foreclosures, including incentives for loan officers who successfully modify a loan gone bad.
-What up with jumbo loans?

City subjects:
-Want to see the published list for salaries of city employees?
-Want to see the list of city jobs cut on Wednesday?
-Want to get accurate news in a timely manner about A-town? Please check out The Island . I’ve traded emails with the writer who has a journalism background, a deep concern about Alameda, and does an amazing job of fact gathering and checking. A couple of months ago I mentioned in an email to her that I was disappointed that the salaries of city employees (ruled as public info last year) had yet to be published for Alameda. Low and behold, the first list showed up last Friday on The Island. I’ve been really impressed. I decided to subscribe and paid the $25 for the daily notice I get about the blog update. It is fair, not vicious, and much needed. I’ve put the blog in the sidebar as one of my favorites and because of it, I’ve been able to share the info regarding city employee salaries and the job cuts with you.

Great neighborhood event of the week, month, year: Dear friends (and clients) of mine invited me and a few dozen of their friends and neighbors to Soup Night last Monday evening. It was low-key, awesome, and delicious! And they’ve been refining and expanding it over the past year. They got the idea from an article that appeared in Sunset Magazine a couple of years ago and went for it! 3 soups, some condiments, simple drinks…2 hours on a Monday. What a way to create and cherish friendships….in a time that really demands reaching out to each other. Yea for D&M!

Great FREE entertainment: Concerts at the Cove start up Friday night at 5:30. I’ve been a huge fan of these events for years. Ride your bike, walk over, even drive! This year it’s all starting a month early and tonight features a classical quartet. It should be excellent.

Alameda real estate this week:

Active listings 164, 159 last report
Pending listings 74, 60 last report

Highest priced new listing
(well, highest but not new…took a rest and price came down)
Lowest priced new listing

Tuesday tour 14 with 4 repeats

New 16

BOM (back on market) 1

Price changes 6

Pending 11

Sold 5

Expired 8

Withdrawn/cancelled 3

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

Winner, Bang for the Buck

Cute, charming (tie!)
Cute, charming

Get me to Rehab
Get me to Rehab both of these have units that need to be rebuilt.

Have a really nice weekend. After the wonderful and gentle rainy days we had, this weekend may feel like summer – it sure did on Thursday!

Carry on! Marilyn

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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!