THE SECOND STORY | June 17th, 2010

Rockin’ at the Cove (aka Crowd Cove!)

Blog photos: Last Friday evening was a blast from the past at the second concert of four this summer, sponsored by the West Alameda Business Association, featuring a tribute band for Michael Jackson. Hundreds and hundreds of folks, all ages, showed up on the most perfect evening imaginable: temps in the mid 70’s, perfectly clear skies, no wind, no fog, and fabulous music! Everybody was bustin’ moves of some kind!

Want more free concerts? Thursdays and Saturdays all summer at Alameda Towne Center. This link has the line up!

Blog post: Consumer items!

-The word on the street! THE FLATS ARE HOT AND THE HILLS ARE NOT! Alameda is flat and people want it. One of my dear Realtor friends who works the Berkeley and Oakland hills said places that have high walkability ratings have now trumped isolation and estates! Hit the link above and plug in your address to get a rating! And lucky for us almost all of Alameda has very good ratings! Getting around here without a car can be done, and done very pleasantly in many cases!

-You may know this….most Bay Area real estate consumers do. Redfin has by far the best website for drilling down info on listings and is super quick to post new properties. Some of you beat me to the punch because they post quicker than the round-about way some of the MLSs use. It’s so good, I’ve now included it on the links to the right of the blog. I don’t know why I waited so long….

Redfin is a discount real estate brokerage company. They give rebates back to their clients when they close a transaction. While I’ve not had any direct experience with one of their agents in a transaction, I do know buyers who have started with them and then moved on due to lack of knowledge about areas they are interested in. Consumers search, then contact them and someone is assigned to meet up with the buyer. Sellers…they swing a discount too, but I’ve also heard that local expertise is sometimes lacking. But it’s all about choices…and they’ve got a terrific website for property searches and info.

-Want to save some bucks every month? Check out Bill Tiger A couple of weeks ago while working on the blog, a blurb came on the Channel 3 (NBC) 11pm news about BillTiger. Immediately I zapped them my most recent Comcast (cable and internet) bill and ATT phone (wireless and landline) bill. Last week I got word that they could save me $28 per month and it had been set up for the next year. Yesterday I got word that they saved me $10 per month for the next year. I pay them $49 for the service only after the first changed billing cycle takes place. The guy behind this is amazing and that news bit had quite an effect and the guy who emailed me my results (yes, it was a real person!) apologized for it taking a bit longer, due to demand. I need to find out just what my new phone details are and ATT has sent me a couple of messages so I will do that checking. What have you got to lose? Oh,that’s right – nothing! You gain a few bucks!

Customer service gripe– I had a terrible experience with Adobe when I ordered an updated Acrobat product that I use for pdf work, workovers, and management for my business. Their trial download link didn’t work so that took a call to India. Then the product finally came and after about 3 hours of phone calls and numerous case numbers, again with some of my new best friends in India (I couldn’t understand several of them!) we discovered that they sent me all the right packaging but with the wrong CD but it too was labeled as the product I ordered. No wonder the serial number wouldn’t work! After another hour this past Monday, with more new best friends they finally figured out how to give me a new serial number to match the product they sent me. I got a refund for the one they messed up, decided to spend an extra $60 for the next higher mystery upgrade they’d sent by mistake, and then downloaded that which took about 45 minutes. Off-shoring and out-sourcing sucks.

-Customer service kudos! – I love my computer service support (Lenovo, aka IBM), Apple, Agency Logic (my website template provider – the president of the company has called me back personally twice from New York – he so gets it), and Docusign (the electronic signature company I use and I paid more for a higher level of service and it has been worth every cent!

I buy extended warranties for electronics these days. I figure I get a useful life of 3 years out of my laptop and then the world has changed enough that I have to change too. So every year for the past 3 years, I’ve needed to have the fan in my laptop replaced (thank goodness before it went out). Someone comes over in 1 day, to my house, no charge. AND when I was in Maui 18 months ago, they sent someone over to me at the condo from Oahu the next day. That guy had to get a flight over, rent a car, and start his day with me first, 45 minutes from the airport. The last thing I needed was a broken computer so when that fan makes noise I really listen. That’s priceless service.

Each of these companies represents added value to me because it creates added value to my clients, which they have come to expect. They don’t care how it gets there, they just know they get it and I know they deserve it! And that’s priceless too!

Quick Glimpses:
CA owners who refinanced loans may be getting deficiency relief
-Know about flipping? How about flopping?
-US Senate takes steps to extend tax credit deadline to Sept 30

Alameda real estate this week….

Active listings this week 166, 173 last report
Pending listings this week 86, 82 last report

Tuesday Broker Tour 14 with 3 repeats

Highest and Lowest priced NEW listings

New 12

BOM (back on market) 1

Price changes

Pending 19

Sold 15

Expired 1

Withdrawn/canceled 2

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

Get me to rehab

Out of rehab 2 links here, one is from 2007 before, the other now. Many of you know this house as an ignored junker for decades, corner of Encinal and Fountain.

Rerun, deja vu, etc We have a new award! It could also be called the ‘ How stupid do they think we are’ award. 4 links are here. This just closed last week for $320,310 on a list of 440K after many, many months. The new owner apparently bought a bundle of repos throughout the state and this was one of them. Now it’s listed for430K and to my knowledge nothing about this funky place has much changed.

So that about does it! Have a great weekend!

Carry on! Make it work!

Best, 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!

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