THE SECOND STORY | May 5th, 2011

The Mannequin House is on the Market!

Blog photo and post- for some of you Alameda long-timers (I changed the wording from “old” timers), you’ll know exactly the house I’m talking about.  It ‘s 1501 Central When we first moved to Alameda  in 1973 we’d drive by that glorious Victorian.  Up on the top floor in the witches cap area, there was a very friendly old lady looking out on the world.  Always there.  Not scary.  She was a constant.

This past week that house came on the market.  For some time Ms. Mannequin has been gone.  Used as a triplex for an extended period, it is really quite a glorious property.  The inlaid hardwood floors give a clue of how/where walls have been dropped and inserted.  The main level must have been an amazing set of huge rooms.  None of the kitchens are anything to write home about, and the second and third floor units are as unique as the house itself, typical of such conversions.  No back yard, some off street parking, some separate metering, and a huge basement top off the offering.

I asked the listing agent about Ms. Mannequin, as have many others.  To my delight the agent said she was in the basement!  And sure enough there she was.  Hardly a proper place for a proper lady who became a proper Alameda icon!

When I first saw that upper unit I couldn’t figure out how a regular sized mannequin would be able to fit there in such a way that her upper body and head could be seen peering out that window.  Well, it’s because she’s not full sized.  She’s a perfectly sized petite lady for that perfectly lovely room with a view.

Quick Glimpses – here are some excellent articles this week!
Lots of home buyers need education about financing (the San Diego Union-Tribune)
Try before you buy (your retirement home) (WSJ – Smart Money)
How to sell your home in tough times (CNN  This is terrific!
Moving to Maryland, DC, or Virginia?  0% down loans. (WSJ)
Financing a vacation home purchase (NY Times)
FNMA and Freddie Mac to align their servicing processes (no foreclosure proceedings while loan mods (which rarely work) are being attempted, communication processes with borrowers to be tightened)

Check out the number of pending sales this week and only 1 is subject to lender approval.  It doesn’t mean there aren’t short sales and bank repos.  There are plenty of them and more to come.  It doesn’t mean that real estate is rebounding in price.  It’s not (see article above).  It’s doesn’t mean a properly priced property always gets multiple offers.  It doesn’t mean the offer will be where a seller wants it.  It doesn’t mean that because the offer is accepted that the buyer’s financing goes through (it is TOUGH out there for sincere, qualified buyers to get that great loan).

It means some sellers are getting a clue about finding the right price for a solid sale.  That happens in one of three ways.  They can follow the market down as similar or surrounding properties get price adjustments.  They can turn down a decent offer, hoping to get something better (not a solid or dependable strategy), then end up selling for less than the early offer.  OR they can price it under the most recent sales creating a buzz that it is a good value….encouraging buyers to act now.  Nice to have choices.  Better to be wise.

Not in Alameda but I’ve put 204 Best Ave. in San Leandro on the market last Tues night.  2/1.5 (over 1700 sf) Mediterranean loaded with original architectural details.  289K.  Getting LOADS of attention from agents and consumers. This is a regular sale – NOT short, NOT a bank repo.

No more link for OPEN HOMES.  The Island Blog closed up last week.  What a great job Michele Ellson did for the past few years.  With a true journalism background, she brought balance to daily reporting.  But she’s grabbing her life back and more power to her!

Unsold inventory count this week 201, 205 last report
Pending inventory count this week  92, 96 last report

Broker Tour – 17 this week, with 2 repeats (2105 Clinton was taken off the market, agent changed, belongings thinned out, and price brought down 10%.  Pending now…less than a week on the market)  See article and commentary above.   It was a great bike ride to see 9 of them on a gorgeous day!.  Saw another 6 after our sales meeting on Wed.

Highest and Lowest Priced NEW Listings

New   15
BOM (back on market)  4
Repositioned properties (price changes) 15
Pending  26
Sold  15
Expired  5
Withdrawn/canceled  6

ALAMEDA REAL ESTATE AWARDS THIS WEEK…remember this is only my perspective!
Winner of the Week 
A terrific example of a mid-century rancher.  But it doesn’t match the neighborhood….so I asked the agent who sold it to the owners 20 years ago, if it was custom designed by the developer of that area in South Shore.  Sure enough…it was.  Good news…one of a kind.  Bad news…one of a kind and the others don’t match.  But I believe it’s priced right.
Grand Dame
Bang for the Buck
It’s pending already (see commentary above)
Out of Rehab 
A step-free ground-level unit at The Willows that has been completely re-done. Perfect for those who can’t deal with stairs.  Unlike most units there (2/1.5) this is a 2/2.

That’s it!  A wrap!  Carry on!  If you do the Mother’s Day gig….may she be given peace, pampering, and  appreciation….even just a tiny amount of one of those EVERY day will make her one happy dudette!

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!