THE SECOND STORY | September 16th, 2010

Hope is no longer a viable marketing alternative….

Blog photo: The last of the summer crop done during a night harvest. With the wonky summer weather we had, growing tomatoes, lettuces, and basil in containers was still a treat! And it was almost effortless! Though the tomatoes didn’t produce and ripen completely because of the lack of sun….one home-grown super-firm piece beats any store bought tomato. Raised beds may be a possibility next year due to the major over-haul (clearing, pruning, shaping, thinning, removing) I just had done in the back yard this week. Much better now! Let there be light!

Blog post: This week my Broker, Dennis Pagones, slid a 5 page single-spaced document into my mail slot at work. It was my 1996 Goals, comprised of my own review of the progress of the previous 2.5 years, identification of the next level of progress, definition of words important to me like discipline, goal, character; and 52 affirmations about myself and my work. I almost cried as I read it! It was so relevant and meaningful even now!

I had a full time assistant back then. I think Lisa and I worked together for 2-3 years. Because technology was allowing so much to be done so much quicker, and with college tuitions on the horizon for the Schumacher kids, I decided I could manage the biz once again on my own. Lisa went on to became a very successful mortgage broker, and well, I’m here!

I think it may have been in that challenging market of 1996, (I’d actually forgotten about it!) that I started using postcards to reach people and update them. A line on the front of one of the cards directed to owners attempting to sell their own property was “Time is the currency of the 90’s. Save time and make more money.” (Well, it’s true – the seller typically nets more by hiring a Realtor, even after paying a commission, than selling by him/herself. And has less chance of making some critical mistakes.)

The post card line I best remember is today’s blog post title: “Hope is no longer a viable marketing alternative.”

Up market, down market, hope never sold a thing.

When a motivated seller meets with a motivated buyer, then a transaction almost always closes. And that’s what they both want. That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges each step of the way but we work through them and everybody’s ideas count since even just a spin on one of them might lead to an ultimate solution. I see it everyday in my own business.

As I tell my clients, I don’t make the market I only work it. Note that I said not ‘in’ it. I work it.

A big part of my job is not to fall prey to the negativity and direness that we are being bombarded with everyday. On the other hand nobody wants to be around a Polly Anna when it’s their home, property, lives, pressures, and future decisions that are on the line.

My job is to listen. Only after loads of questions from me and lots of listening, can we talk about solutions that may help clients realize their goals, short and long term. In a market like this it may very well mean stopping the bleeding on an investment or purchase that went sour or south.

Sometimes it means redirecting efforts towards waiting it out – making an existing home that’s too small work better with a bit of organizing, sprucing up, and most of all clearing out. Or if downsizing is the ultimate goal but not quite yet, start working on the obvious – once again clearing out stuff so when the time is right for the sale/move, most of the work as been done! In every case, only the client can make the decision. Only the client.

I’ve had four calls this week, each one unique, each one dealing in THIS market, revealing the concerns of owners who are trying to figure out their options. And bless each one of them for thinking it through from all angles before making a decision.

I’ve had two calls in the past week asking me about the future of real estate. How do I think the market will be between 2011-2013. I don’t know. How do I think the market will be in 30 years due to climate change affecting Alameda? He’s worried about leaving his portfolio of properties to his small kids and wonders if anybody on our fair island is talking about being underwater, literally. My answers to that – yes it is being discussed, no there are no answers, and maybe you should buy in Nevada.

I wanted to share a few affirmations on my 1996 list:
#1. God comes first in my life.
#4. I am not the crisis center for my office and business.
#5. I tell the truth always.
#17. I am not afraid to be different. I can face the fact that I am different.
#19. I love change and think things through as best possible to see that all parties benefit by a change.
#20. I work for two people – my clients and my broker.
#24. I work to set an example for my children and family.
#25. I offer options to my clients and let them make their own informed decisions.
#32. I observe what works in other businesses and see if I can use it in mine.
#42. My ability to grow this business is in direct proportion to the shrinking of my ego.
#44. I move through difficult cycles quickly and smoothly.
#46. No excuses.
#50. I am not the product of the market, nor is my business.
#52. I spend more time thinking and less time talking about being a big thinker and then I spend the most time executing the plan.

Alameda real estate this week…

We’ve got a new listing on the market. The website is not quite ready yet but here’s the mls link to 207 Harbor Road. Single level, detached 2/2 townhome, in Harbor Bay, close to the shoreline park. 465K. Check it out. It will be open this Sunday 2-4pm.

Inventory is creeping up. Pendings are down a bit. Some of the ‘new listings’ aren’t, they are just repeats, and some of the prices on the sold properties don’t show the real beginning list price. I’ll try to point some specific instances out to you this week. The lowest priced ‘new’ listing has 3 properties lower than it but they aren’t new. They are used.

Active listings this week…211, 193 last report
Pending listings this week… 76, 79 last report

Highest and Lowest priced NEW listings this week

Broker tour 16, and I think there were 5 or 6 repeats (my list is in my car but yes, I did ride my bike!)


Price changes 13

BOM (back on market) 2

Pending 9
-1404 San Jose did not go pending in 15 days. It’s been on the market since April of this year.

Sold 9
– 2722 Bayview actually had a list price of 730K
– 2931 Windsor sold for more than list but the very conscientious agent tells us the full story: Seller paid the all the county transfer tax, paid $16,100 for pest work, and 13K towards the Buyers closing costs.

Expired 0

Withdrawn/canceled 4 (some are reinserted as new)

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

Winner, Cute, Bang for the Buck
– this townhome really blew me away. The nearly white interior with big color splashes in the mid-50’s modern style furnishings. Immaculate and stylish.

Get me to rehab...3 way tie (not total disasters but more than needing facelifts!)

A new one….Unique mixed used building

That’s does it! Make it work! Have some fun! Give a shout if you have real estate questions….but my crystal ball is out of warranty. 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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