Archive for February, 2011

Saturday’s News and My Quotes

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Well, they did get my name wrong in the article!

Another comment I heard this week about this write-up is a reminder that Cherryland is not actually in the City limits. It’s in the “unincorporated” part, not in the City of Hayward.

Also, starter homes can be purchased for less than $300,000 in many Hayward neighborhoods.

WHO Says It’s the Right Time to Buy?

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Ever since I started in the real estate business, I’ve always told my clients that the best time to buy or sell is when YOU are ready to do so.

So I’d like to share this article with our readers. I’m not the only one who shares this philosophy!

CLICK HERE to read about the right time to buy…

What? I MADE more than that when I SOLD it!

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Before I Flew the Coop: My 2005 Condo

How sad is the real estate business these days compared to 2005?

The photo shown here is from a condo I owned from 2003-2005. It is now on the market for LESS than what I MADE on the place when I sold it!

In mid-2004, I moved out of this condo to buy my house, leaving the condo vacant for 6 months until I figured out what to do with it. In that 6-month period of time, the value increased considerably and I sold it for a hefty profit.

Any stories out there about smart investments? Dumb investments? Any “I-wish-I-had-done-that” stories?

Loan Agent who represented this purchase: Jeff McGary, jeff@jeffmcgary.com

Letter to the Planning Commission, February 9th, 2011

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Dear Planning Commissioners,
 
The Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association (PHNA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed Mission Corridor Specific Plan.  The goals of the overall plan are to be applauded.  As the plan is implemented, it is certain to have positive and long lasting impacts on the quality of life for our businesses, residents and visitors.  Our neighborhood appreciates your efforts to ensure the Plan is thoughtfully considered and its importance in shaping the future livability and productivity of our community.
 
PHNA is limiting our comments to the areas of the plan that will directly impact our neighborhood.  Who better to comment on the impacts of the Plan than those most affected by it, yes?  Our Board requests the Planning Commission consider the following:
 
1.  PHNA generally supports the “Preferred Regulating Plan” approach to Variable #1, Street Design.  While it would be wonderful to reduce the number of lanes, increase the width of the sidewalks and install a narrow median strip, this alternative would not be consistent with the overall plan for either density nor future mixed use/redevelopment of the corridor.  We, however, would like the actual design to incorporate the extension of the medians across Sunset and Simon Streets and perhaps Rose to eliminate southbound left hand turns into the neighborhood.  This would also eliminate Northbound left hand turns and improve both traffic flow and safety along this stretch of Mission Boulevard.  From the neighborhood’s standpoint, this would significantly reduce the amount of cut through traffic in our neighborhood currently experienced and that expected by the mini-loop project.   The median extensions should be included in the traffic analysis portion of the Environmental Impact Report to be accomplished.  The broader and continuing question about the impacts of the mini-loop on our neighborhood will still require further study at some future time, but the EIR for this plan must also evaluate any changes to use, density, zoning and enhanced public space on traffic.
 
PHNA would also like to emphasize the installation of improved street lighting along the northerly stretch of Mission Blvd, consistent with downtown design guidelines.  This portion of Mission Boulevard serves at the entrance to our City, and deserves to represent the City well.  At the northerly end of the boulevard, we suggest an entry feature be included in the landscape plan marking one’s arrival in our beautiful city. 
 
2.  One of the more distinguishing characteristics of this historic, downtown neighborhood, are the views available to residents of the western portion of the hillside.  The building heights along the Mission Boulevard frontage are of concern to the neighbors. PHNA understands that residential density will be necessary to reinvigorate the corridor, and mixed use may require additional height to create the mix of commerce and residential uses that will enliven this part of our neighborhood.  However, this should not be at the expense of one our oldest neighborhoods in the city.  The three story limitation on heights should be maintained from A Street north to the City limits as an overlay for the T-5 zone.  In fact, I suggest that the three story designation be made clearer and the restriction be in feet above grade, rather than as a “story” limitation.  For example, parking could be placed below grade and not impact above grade heights.  The policy decision for the Commission here regards views, not the number of stories for new buildings.
 
3.  PHNA supports the expansion of the civic space from A Street north to the “Big Mike” property.  We were disappointed the City didn’t acquire the Big Mike property, which was recently on the market as part of advancing this plan and had been voiced both by the Commission and the City Council.  However, the goal remains and we would like to see more civic space in our neighborhood.  We would hope that plans for this space would include active uses to encourage positive activities rather than downtown loitering.  Design is everything!
 
Again, thank you for the opportunity for our neighborhood to share its views.  We care deeply about the flavor, character and future of our downtown neighborhood and trust that you will consider our comments carefully in your deliberations. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Greg Jones
President, PHNA

Business Grade

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Times are tough, certainly.  But there are signs of life in our economy that are encouraging!  We will have turned the corner once the real estate market, in particular residential housing, stabilizes. 

Do you think your community has positioned itself to prosper as the economy improves?  What grade would you give YOUR community for being business friendly? 

“He Said, She Said”: In Hot Water (Not)

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"He Said" From the Cave, "She Said" From the Throne

Every once in awhile, I miss the conveniences of a modern home.  We all know that age adds character (to places as well as faces).  One such character flaw in a 1926 model is the plumbing. 

There are a couple of examples of our plumbing “issues”, one of which we will leave for another post.  The subject of THIS post is the scarcity of the availability of hot water in the morning. 

Southport, NC, October 4, 1999 -- Elevating ut...

Today I felt like I was camping.  Ever shaved with cold water, fellow cavemen?  Pleasant, yes?  One would ask themsleves, how, in 2011, could a modern man NOT have hot water available to him?  Easy answer: Being second place in the shower order.

She Said: “All you have to do is take a shorter shower.”

He Said: “Yes, you’re correct. All YOU have to do is take a shorter shower.”

She Said: “Of course I would if there wasn’t enough hot water.”

He Said: “So I should let my beard grow?”

She Said: “Are we playing tit-for-tat here?”

He Said: “No, because you’ll win. How about a tankless hot water heater? Endless supply of hot water!”

She Said: “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the water heater we have.”

He Said: “True, it’s the human being involved that create the problem. Shall I just go to the gym to take my showers from now on? Besides, the gym has cable TV…”

Note: Do NOT run the dishwasher along with a load of laundry in an old house.

The First Thing Buyers Should Do

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojYKp-dmuEM

Bailey Ranch and Its Views

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One thing I love about this business is the ability to enjoy the neighborhoods we serve and their virtues. Today’s visit to a prime neighborhood with my business partner/husband was a walk through the entire Bailey Ranch neighborhood in the hills.

Many of these homes have panoramic views of the bay and still others in the neighborhood have canyon views. It boasts its own little park and the homes are clean and new. Some of the homes back up to the new elementary school, for those parents who like to keep a close eye on their children!

It was a beautiful day today at Bailey Ranch. We were there for about an hour enjoying the quiet atmosphere. I promised my husband that we could skip yoga tonight since we got our exercise already. (I was pooped anyway.)

We’re curious to know if the neighbors of Bailey Ranch can guess who delivered each of our postcards to their doorsteps. Men and women, it seems, also have different ways of delivering a postcard!

“He Said, She Said”: White Floors and Carpeted Bathrooms

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“He Said” From the Cave, “She Said” From the Throne

As I’ve been reading our “He Said, She Said” series of blog-posts we’ve started, I’ve come to realize that The Man in this duo “talks” a lot more than I do.

Have any of our readers noticed the same thing?

He Said: “What does that have to do with white floors and — carpeted bathrooms?”

She Said: “At least you’re not arguing with my observation.”

He Said: “Well maybe that’s because I have more to say that’s of value.”

She Said: “Okay, what do you think of white floors and carpeted bathrooms?”

He Said: “White floors show everything. Super impractical.”

She Said: “That’s not what you were saying when you were stuck cleaning our own white kitchen floor…!”

He Said: “What did I say?”

She Said: “You said ‘^&$#$$(bleep!)^&*^ 87&*what-kind-of-crazy-woman-would-choose-white-floors-&%^(bleep!)&&% 789*%^&5 87% 987&*^ %^&%(bleeping-bleep!)’ “

He Said: (Not acknowledging his foul language) “I’ve never seen a carpeted bathroom. Never thought about it.”

She Said: “In all my years of being in the real estate business, I’ve noticed that older folks (senior citizens) often have carpeted bathrooms. It’s more comfortable for them to walk on something soft.”

He Said: “Well, then I guess it makes sense, doesn’t it? Probably warmer too! You don’t slip on it.”

She Said: “True, but a man should NEVER have a carpeted bathroom.”

He Said: “I don’t want to know what you’re thinking when you say that, but I can guess.”

She Said: “Anyone who’s ever lived with a man or has raised a man knows why carpeted bathrooms are not a good idea.”

He Said: “Can we talk about something else now?”

(I just wanted to make my point. Bull’s-eye!)

The House I Grew Up In is on the Market!

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I spent my childhood years pretty much in one house.  From the time I was 8 until I left when I was around 19, my address remained the same.  I lived earlier years in a ranch home in College Station, Texas with few memories, mostly related to severe weather and large insects.  My family also lived briefly in a duplex when we relocated to Washington State.  I remember little from that time, other than grabbing an electric fence in the back yard at my brother’s encouragement, and hiding from the school bus that would carry me off to first grade. Oh yeah, and I remember burning a hole in the carpet with an electric woodburner that I was using to create a work of art.  When the landlord inspected the duplex upon our departure, I remember quite a scene!  I couldn’t wait to move from the duplex with the bunk beds my brother and I sold off in favor my own room in the new-old house.   The memory of being told that we had bought the “big old house downtown” and that I would have my very own bedroom is vivid. 

I have many fond memories of “my” house.  The house was built around 1904.  It is a two story classic, with a basement and an attic.  A wide, covered porch spreads the full width of the front of the house, with curving, wide steps leading up to it.  The front door is red and welcoming, the same color as the entire roof.  The clapboard siding is white as snow, making the home visually “melt” into the snow covered landscape in winter.  The street is lined with 100 year old maple trees that turn incredible shades of gold and red in the Fall and leave huge piles of leaves to rake, a prospect at an early age to earn some much wanted cash. 

My Mom, being on her own now, has decided its too much to take care of, so it’s on the market!  In the coming weeks, I’ll share some stories of the old homestead.