THE SECOND STORY | May 14th, 2009

Memories and stained glass…often colorful, transparent, beautiful, radiant, cracked.

(The numbers in the header photo read backwards….and that’s because the best light to shoot the glory of the original stained glass windows was when the natural daylight back-lit the designs. I had the privilege of listing this six unit Victorian about 4 years ago…and yes, it sold!)

I spent a couple of hours this evening writing an offer with a young client referred to me, who, as a first time buyer, is trying to find a decent discounted house and make it a home.

Decent and discounted are not the most compatible words in the world of short-sales and REO’s (real estate owned by the bank). We’ve seen some stinky places, trashed out places, places that seem they are sliding down a hill, places below BART tracks, places backing up to freeways or super busy streets. We’ve seen small houses, and smaller houses. But through it all he’s realized the side-benefits of buying now include some potentially amazing prices, terrific interest rates, and the First Time Buyer $8,000 tax credit!

Writing an offer is often a great time for some Real Estate 101. Sharing an occasional personal story can make the process easier. Asking if the newbie Buyer knows what escrow is/does leads to a story if he/she is not sure of the answer. The answer is simple enough…an escrow holder is a neutral third party that acts only when receiving agreeing and concurrent instructions given in writing by the principals in the transaction. No agreement, everything stops.

Here’s my story about escrow:

When I was growing up my family moved more than the norm. I went to 3 different schools in 4th grade and it wasn’t because I was kicked out of each one. Rather, my dad received numerous promotions and job transfers with the company he worked for over the course of decades, eventually retiring at the ripe old age of 49 (you read that right).

As the oldest of 4 squirrelly kids (the other 3 were boys), I was often aware that family dynamics were changing. Typical of those times, our parents didn’t speak too openly about anything in front of their kids. And much of what they did say was unexplained. Example: THE TALK about s-e-x. Ooops, I digress.

Yet there would come the moment when they’d announce we were moving – again. And they’d say “We’re in escrow.” Okay, whatever. I thought we lived in Costa Mesa, or Daly City, or La Jolla, or San Rafael, or Newport Beach. But I guess we were in Escrow. And the only thing I could relate that to was some place I’d heard of – Fresno. So I assumed Escrow must be a town or city near Fresno, and that was where we were moving to. Escrow. Again. And we were in it. Again. But we never moved to Escrow or Fresno. And for that, my friends, I remain very grateful.

Alameda real estate this week….
It was a banner week for east end home inventory. Three houses went for sale on Windsor. And the number of ‘new’ listings has been something we’ve been waiting for. 16 new, not counting Thomsen’s Garden Center that came on the market a couple of weeks ago and another was withdrawn and reinserted as new. Some properties are selling in very short order.

To make it easy to contrast and compare here are the three Windsor properties:
2951 Windsor
3042 Windsor
2919 Windsor

Active listings 170, 164 last report
Pending listings 82, 74 last report

Highest priced new listing there were 2 higher, but they were re-inserts
Lowest priced new listing

Tuesday tour 11 with 2 repeats

New 18

BOM (back on market) 0

Price changes 6

Pending 11

Sold 4

Expired 0

Withdrawn/cancelled 3

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

Winner, Got me a Makeover

Cute, Charming

Get me a Facelift

Bang for the Buck

Out of Rehab

Have a great weekend!

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!