THE SECOND STORY | September 17th, 2020

Maintenance records.

My name is on this chalk board along with Andy Weber and John Poole, both were local contractors back in the day!

A friend sent me this photo. It details what’s been done to a portion of the subarea of his huge Alameda house. He has definitely had upgrades done over the years but this kind of takes the cake.

These days we don’t need to rely on chalkboards but it’s a very good thing to put your receipts/finaled permits for work done on your property in some type of online file system. I use Dropbox.

If you decide to sell…those records (or lack thereof) will justify the price that the Buyer is offering.

Getting a pest and property inspection done upfront, by the Seller, makes the whole process much easier. The Buyer may decide to wipe out (remove) the physical inspection contingency with her/his offer.

If you have questions about who I used for these inspections, give me a call, email, or text me. Many home inspectors don’t have actual contractor licenses. This is a big negative to me. My inspector has a Contractor’s license as well as a Structure Pest Control Operator’s license.

And BTW….he was the ‘G.C’ (general contractor) who built his own 5000 sf home in Moraga, and he still did inspections for me here in Alameda.

Let me know if you need/want the name of the company and how to reach the office.


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Active Listings  36 including 1 BOM, 2 PCH

Days on market  High 1229  Low 6 Avg 79  Med 31

Pending Listings 15 including 3 PSB 

Days on market  High 38  Low 3  Avg 15  Med 12

Sold Listings 21  High 59  Low 0  Avg 15  Med 13

We’re done! The air is so much nicer today….let’s hope it stay that way for the weekend!

Best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | September 10th, 2020


I have 2 emergency kits in my car. I also have a very large, tough plastic bin in the corner of my back yard (like you might find on docks).

Orange sky Thursday morning. And it only got worse.  The lovely woman who runs/manages our Alameda office of BayEast,  said that it was like waking up on Mars.

In my car is a backpack that I got from KQED (NPR) for giving them a donation (which I continue to do each month), 2 or 3 years ago.

The duffle bag was a gift that was given to those of us who are involved with leadership, from the President of the BayEast Association of Realtors, late last year, at their inauguration party.

The duffle bag is full of all kinds of stuff to survive on and with. There is a battery-powered lantern, a wind-up radio, a blanket. I’ve added a couple of extra roll-up bags that more stuff can be stuffed into.

Due to my flying adventures, and my sailing adventures with my late husband, Carl, I always carry a pocket knife with me. I may not be able to carry it on a commercial flight…but if I’m checking in my bag, I’ll put it in my roller suitcase.  

I also have a very large tough plastic bin in the corner of my backyard (like the ones you might see on docks) that holds more supplies.


With all that is going on these days, I think these packs, bins, and bags are a necessity. Now I have to pack the packs back up again!

What do you have in your bins and bags?


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Active listings 36 including 3 PCH 

Days on market  high 1223   low 8  avg  77  med 28

Pending listings 10 including 1 PSB 

Days on market  high 35  low 4  avg 17  med 17

Sold listings 14

Days on market  high 179  low 0  avg 22  med 7

best, marilyn

Maybe the smoke/ash will make the ‘I don’t wanna wear a mask’ folks put on a mask, eh?

THE SECOND STORY | September 3rd, 2020

Very strange ‘new’ listing narratives….

These kids are our hope for the future. (2 of     them are my grandkids.)

I found these listings descriptions to be funny. Maybe because I’m in my house, sitting at the computer watching Zoom/RingCentral meetings most of the day.

TAN means Total Agent Network (you need to be worthy of this listing model).  It’s not your regular MLS. It’s good for those agents that use it and are encouraging their Sellers to use it. I’m a member but I use it for info only. IMHO it’s a bit too exclusive…and I always encourage my clients to get the listing out there ASAP to AMAP (as many as possible).

“TAN Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland $2,295,000. Largest plot w/Grassy Yard, Home Office Family Room, Au-Pair Suite.”   I guess they’re planning for a spacious after-life.

Local agent advertising in the MLS “Watch beautiful sunsets from the deck with a view of estuary pond.” Pond? Really?



AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)

ACTIVE LISTINGS 37 including 3 PCH

days on market  High 1215  Low 5  Avg 75  Med 30


days on market   High 45  Low  0  Avg 15  Med 30


days on market  High 108  Low 0  Avg 19  Med 8

I’m done! Check out my other ‘for fun’ blog

Let me know if you have comments/inquiries about the Alameda market!

best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | August 28th, 2020

Advertising about A-town.

Surprise Birthday Party on my block! Huge balloons and a lot of noise!

I just returned from a late afternoon/evening in Napa. I was invited to dinner by my son’s in-laws. Ev and Erin and their 2 kids drove up from San Diego for the week. While the air quality was quite good in Alameda, it was just a  bit smokey in Napa…but still much better than it’s been there for a while. Not wanting to be a total free-loader, I asked what I could bring. They said I could bring some Tucker’s Ice Cream! So I did.

 I knew I needed to drive my car to Tuckers, otherwise, the ice cream would melt during my bike ride home.

Evan had a part-time job during one of his high-school summer vacations at Tucker’s. And we (including Carl) go waaaay back with the former owners. Needless to say…we were regulars.

A bit of truthfulness- this is the first time during the lockdown I’ve ordered out for anything. And this was the first time that I’ve driven my car off the island since SIP.  But I did drive my car to the Southshore Car Wash a few weeks ago. Now it’s gross again.

Here’s a link to Tucker’s history and what they offer!

Their logos says…”Eat Dessert First!’

All Alameda all of the time!



AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)

Active listings 45 including 1 BOM and 2 PCH

days on market: high 1209,  low 8,  avg 75,  median 32

Pending listings: 20 including 2 PSB 

days on market: 179  high, 0 low,  avg 29,  median 13

Sold listings:  11

days on market: 108  high,  0 low,  avg 36,  median 16

Let me know if you have ??? about the market! I may or may not have the answers! But it would be nice to chat…whether in person or not!

Best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | August 20th, 2020

Attics…more than just dust…

This gal has been in the attic for too long!

Must be the covid thing. But she seems happy with her isolation.

Too many Zoom meetings. Too many Ring Central meetings. But I must say, I’ve been learning a lot about new apps and new programs regarding real estate. Now, which one is best?

I think I need to find an independent person to experiment with these new programs/apps. This person needs to find out if these programs actually do what they profess they do. And they need to think like a dummy or a mannequin.

I must get 50 emails per day about the ‘new, the latest’ real estate-tricked-out programs. I don’t ask for them. Those that have my phone number….I don’t even answer my phone or I just hang up on them. How rude of me…but how rude of them. But it’s a job for them….and I can appreciate that.

I have a personal policy that I won’t try anything out until I know somebody who recommends it.

It’s kind of like shopping for a piece of property, or getting a loan. I wouldn’t just walk into a bank and say I need a loan now. No, you need to get pre-approved for that loan…and that’s a good reason that I suggest that my clients use a mortgage broker, not just a bank.

A broker has the ability to shop various banks/lenders and often she/he will have a solid relationship with some of those lenders. They know how each other works…and the goal is to get the mutual client pre-approved not just prequalified. And that’s how the buyer gets the best interest rate at the best price. Fees include ‘points’ (each point is 1% of the loan amount).

If you need a recommendation, let me know. And I don’t get any $$$ for referring the lender/broker to you. You are the one who needs to be satisfied.



AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)


days on market: high 1201  low 2  avg 75   median 30


days on market: high 1017  low 0   avg 57  median 12


days on market: high 70  low 0  avg 11  median 9

That’s a wrap! Call, text, em me if you have questions about the market, a lender, or just want to say hello!

Best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | August 13th, 2020

Referrals vs advertising….

View of  ‘no-sunset’ from my backyard but the clouds and light were amazing this evening.










Word of mouth: Referrals…..the name of the game.

The house cleaners that I use for my own home, mostly work here in Alameda. I had to get on their “wait-list” they are in such demand.

I encourage my Sellers to use them because they do such a great job of deep cleaning. They come in once a property is almost ready for the photographer. They do such a great job!

I often suggest that my Sellers hire my landscaper/gardener. He and his crew are also terrific. I’ve used them for years, as well!

That’s exactly why I ask my friends/customers for a note/letter that I can put on my website (with their permission) for others to see….saying why they hired me! No guarantee that will happen…but  I still ask.

This method of giving and getting referrals is primarily the only way I get new business. I don’t do a ton of advertising about myself. Yep, you may get postcards/letters from me to keep me top of mind….in case somebody asks you to name a good, honest, tell it like it is, real estate agent.

I didn’t personally know the woman with whom I chatted about her real estate, but she asked friend who had a friend….who suggested that she interview me.

The potential seller and I communicated via email this week, and then she wanted to speak with me over the phone. It was all good. However, she let me know today, that she was going to list the property with another person who actually lived in her development. Hey, I can ride my bike to where you live!

It’s all good! It only encourages me to make my presentation better, clearer, more thoughtful. As I’ve said before: In this ‘new’ normal most everything is done virtually and definitely not in person.

Today I was on a webinar about listing presentations. I found that this instructor suggests that the agents use professional photographers.

I do that, too. In fact, this instructor suggests that listing agents use Matterport (a virtual tour/ camera/ that shows a property in 3D), and the customer can control how he/she views a property.

My photographer uses Matterport, as well. He’s been working with me for the past 7 years. He also flies a drone for which you need to get a specific license from the FAA.

It’s pretty reassuring when I listen/watch another professional teach a class, and that I’ve already done what s/he suggests longer than he has. Whew!

So if you’d care to give me a recommendation l (I’ve done biz with so many of you), I’d be happy to accept it….and it would be posted (if you let me post it) next to this blog!


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Active listings 45 including 1 BOM 

Days on market    high 1194   low  6   avg  85   med  28

Pending listings 17 including 2 PSB

Days on market    high 402   low 6   avg 40   med 15

Sold listings 11 

Days on market   high  54   low 0   avg  19   med 13

We’re done! Have a good weekend, stay in the shade, wear masks when you’re outdoors, call/text/email if you want need a vendor referral from me! Call if you need me to do an errand for you, too!

Best, marliyn



THE SECOND STORY | August 6th, 2020

Into the 2nd week of AUGUST?

I’ve never been on so many Zoom and/or RingCentral meetings in the last 5 months!

Now, most everything is done virtually. My heart goes out to the kids who can’t see their friends – except virtually. And how about those parents? They are my heroes! Especially my son and my daughter-in-law who is a middle school science teacher…and these adults are teaching these young ones at home as well!

The real estate biz has been quickly adjusting to the new normal like everything else! As I’ve said many times during this pandemic, we have seen a glimpse of what real estate can do, and is doing, to get folks in and out of properties (including houses, townhomes, condos, leased offices, big offices, industrial parks, vacant land).


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)


Active listings 47 including 1 AC and 1 PCH

Pending listings 17 including 5 PSB

Sold listings 13

OK…that’s a wrap! Be nice, wave hello to those who are walking or riding by, wear masks, and try not to complain. We’ve got enough of that already, and we have 3 months to go before we get to the election.

Let me know if you have questions about the real estate market, here in Alameda. And it’s easy for me to do a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) for you…online.

Have a great weekend!  marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | July 31st, 2020

Letting them know who you are….

I ordered this from in the past week. I think this is really smart advertising. Why not print the company name like it was handwritten on the box on every side of the package? Somebody is onto something. Kinda nuts, eh? Well, maybe not if the box contains something electronic….

I hope you are taking some time to go through these property reports….they say/show so much more than just the address and the photos. The graphs are interesting…and it kind of gives an overview of the market. They also give Zillow (qu)esstimates.


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)


Active listings 44 including 1 BOM

Days on market   High 1181   Low 8  Avg 91  Median 23

Pending listings 12 including 4 PSB

Days on market   High 52  Low 0  Avg 13  Median 8

Sold listings 15   

Days on market   High 125  Low 0  Avg 22  Median 12

OK! That’s a wrap for this summary. Questions? Give me a call, email!  And if I (or my phone) don’t recognize your phone number, I probably won’t return your text msg.  There’s just too much weirdness going on out there!

Let me know if you have questions and/or need referrals…! Be safe, wear a mask, and be well!

Best, marilyn



THE SECOND STORY | July 23rd, 2020


I took this photo from Ballena Bay, this week. Once again, instant air conditioning!

This covid thing does have a small upside to it. We appreciate more folks, even if we don’t know them, and we appreciate our neighbors more than ever.

This morning I had a phone call from a friend/Broker…and although he and his wife have been through some very rough times (losing their son), he is so upbeat! That takes some mental strength and some strength from deep inside the heart.

Late this afternoon I had a meeting with some other friends. Yep, they wore their masks and we kept our distance. We spoke about everything….although they really wanted some real estate advice. He knows more about this town than I’ll ever know.

I am so blessed.

Now let’s get into real estate.


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)


Active listings 44 including 2 PCH  

Days on market   High 1173  Low 1  Average 90  Median 20

Pending listings 16 including 4 PSB

Days on market   High 108  Low 0  Average 21  Median 9

Sold listings 19

Days on market   High 34  Low 0  Average 12  Median 12

PS I’m so grateful for those who have contacted me, just this week (locally or from out of state), asking for vendor referrals for their property here in Alameda:

-a loan Broker (for 2 different clients)

– painters 

-a client who lives out of state who needed a paralegal to have some documents signed and filed with the Alameda County Assessor

-a couple who needed a roof referral and fireplace vendors 

If you have a need for a vendor referral….let me know! And if you have a great vendor let me know.

Referrals are the best way to find a quality person to do a job!

Carry on! Be well, be safe, have fun (safely)! Call, text, em, me if you have real estate questions. If I can’t answer them logically and thoroughly, then I’ll find somebody who can answer them for you or direct you to someone you can call. 

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | July 16th, 2020

The fog is in the city…not in Alameda

Alameda’s natural air-conditioning – the FOG!

And a structure of driftwood along Shoreline.

This week I closed the listing/ @ 221 Central Ave. (the house across the street from the Encinal High School jet). If you look to the column on the right side you’ll see some of those details. Many memories were made at the home,  and I hope the new owners will make many more! We had 5 offers. 

The Sellers moved to Duluth, MN! I just heard on either the radio or TV that Sellers are moving out of CA because the cost of living is so high. I’ve seen that for the last couple of years….folks are getting out of Dodge.

Now that folks are working out of their houses/apts/condos/townhomes and not driving to work so much (f at all), I get it. Mostly you can work anywhere as long as you have a high-speed internet connection.

This is a link to the report that I just rec’d from the CA Association of Realtors regarding the June sales.

It’s pretty interesting….just scan through it and you find some columns that are pretty revealing!


AC (active contingent on selling another property)

PCH (price change)

PSB (pending sale, want backups)


Active listings 40 including 3 PCH

Days On Market   High  1156   Low 0   Avg 99   Median 25

Pending listings 11 

Days on Market  High 50  Low 0 Avg 15  Median 25

Sold 9 listings 

Days on Market  High 20  Low 0  Avg 11  Median 9

OK! That’s a wrap! Have a nice weekend. If you head out, wear your mask, be happy, and let your smile show with those squished up eyes! 

Best, marliyn