THE SECOND STORY | March 18th, 2011

Midst the world turmoil….a first rose.

Blog photo and post: I took this photo today at my client’s house.  It was such a lovely reminder of the simple things: beauty, calm, refreshment, peace, sunshine, spring renewal.  He said he’d like me to take it.  Absolutely not!  It deserved to be right there, in its perfect setting.  The roses in our yard have lots of buds but no blooms yet.

Many of you know my daughter and her Kiwi husband were right smack in the middle of the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake just under a month ago.  They are fine….and figuring out next steps.  Her blog (side bar bottom to the right) has had some lovely insights, as has her FaceBook wall.  They have readily admitted that their experience, as awful as it was, was a cake walk compared to the events in Japan.  For them, though, the recurring theme for life is ‘normal’.  Looking for normal.  And relishing it when it appears.  And the rose reminded me of all that.

Now….that being said with the events of exactly one week ago in Japan, please take some time to get your earthquake preparedness kits together. Here is a terrific guide for what to get together  72  That’s how long ‘they’ say you should prep for having nothing.

Protect your home…it’s required now when you sell a property in town…why wait.  Have a gas shut off valve installed now.  It shuts off gas at the meter based on vibrations.  Avoid a fire!  If you need vendor names, let me know.  Expect to pay under $500.

Most of us don’t carry earthquake insurance…too expensive and the deductible is a killer(15-20% of the value insured) .  If there is anyway you can swing it….have some engineered seismic protection done under your house….shear wall panels, strong ties that hold the building corners together, and extra foundation bolting.  Let me know if you need engineer referrals and contractor referrals.

If you have a garage under a living space, it is a very susceptible place for structural collapse.  Often we see bedrooms over the garage.  Few existing homes  have seismic reinforcing.  None of this costs a fortune. I expect you’ll even get a discount on your insurance for having them.

Don’t be surprised when insurance companies start upping the rates if you don’t have these, or start to require them in order to get insurance.

A friend and I were talking about where to put our earthquake kits so we can get to them?  What if they are buried in the room they were in? Not so good.  Another friend suggested water and air tight plastic ‘tuff-stuff’ type bins set in a corner of the lot/patio/yard where it will have a better chance of surviving.   Do you lock it?  What if you don’t have access to the key?  Snap it shut and forget about it. 

And what about food?  A local Boy Scout troop is selling MREs (meals ready to eat) as a fund raiser.  I’m going to order two packages of the things.  Better those than nothing at all, and I’d rather give to others than take from others.

AND many of the troop members have completed the Community Emergency Response Team training (CERTs).  We have some CERTs folks in our neighborhood watch group.

That’s another winner….organize a neighborhood watch.  Everybody wins.  After decades of being the point person for ours (Watch Captain), we are the most organized we’ve ever been and have more members than ever.  Everybody opted in for our shared spreadsheet of contacts.  It took weeks to do but I got it done and feel much relieved about it.  Call the Alameda Police and arrange a meeting for even just a few of you!

Quick Glimpses:
State stats for CA.
Help your folks when they are considering a reverse mortgage.
Don’t let the banks and attorneys general speed through their ‘fixes’ – more morons

OPEN HOMES THIS WEEKEND (courtesy of Island Blog)

Unsold inventory this week  179, 176 last report
Pending inventory this week   90, 87 last report

Broker Tour  12 with 3 repeats

Highest and lowest priced NEW listings

New  11

BOM Back on market  0

Repositioned properties (price changes)  13

Pending  15

Sold  9

Expired 0

Withdrawn/canceled  4

Get Me to Rehab!  a 5 way tie!
Winner, Out of Rehab  (Tough being on narrow, busy street with no garage) but it sure looks good. This is a flip that took too long and prices have come down since it was purchased.  So they are losing on this one but have done better on others. It’s a regular sale, not short.)

That’s it!  A wrap!  Carry on!  Be well! Take time to smell the roses!

best, marilyn

PS And to the unknown-to-me reader who did lots of homework looking for solid Alameda real estate info and have been following my blog, thank you for sharing the results of your research with your friends.  They contacted me and said you said it was the best source you’ve found and that you are super detail oriented.  And they started reading.  Thanks! I hope to continue to earn that compliment!   We meet  Friday!

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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!