JUST BOUGHT: Pepto-Bismol House

Rachel and Allen JUST SOLD
 
First items on the agenda:

  • Paint away the Pepto-Bismol color (Rachel & Allen)
  • Pee in every corner of the yard (Rupert)

START TO FINISH: 67 days, including financing process
Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement signed: November 21, 2015
In Contract: December 23, 2015
CLOSED ESCROW $20,000 under list price, FHA loan: January 27, 2016 (closed in 35 days even after 4 holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!)
 

Available Soon! Target Date: Jan. 26, 2016

lindenwood exterior photoALREADY IN CONTRACT: All cash contract with no contingencies scheduled to close in 6 days.
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3-bedroom, 2-bathroom single-level home in the sought-after and well-established Southgate neighborhood on Lindenwood Way!
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This home’s neighborhood popularity is due to its tree-lined streets, easy access to shopping, the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge, a neighborhood swim club, the mall and Chabot College a few blocks away, which is where A-list actor Tom Hanks attended.
 [su_spacer size=”20″ class=””]Stay tuned for more information!

Why we MUST do business locally!

Amazon_Infographic_1200px_headerAmazon is rapidly expanding its online empire, but behind the conveniences that the company offers are a lot of hidden costs. We found an infographic to see how shopping at Amazon compares with shopping at local businesses in its impact on jobs, taxes, the local economy, and community. Before you click, here’s why your choice matters:
Jobs: Amazon creates less than half as many jobs as local brick-and-mortar stores do. This means the more Amazon grows and crowds out other businesses, the fewer jobs available.
Taxes: In most communities, Amazon has no facilities and therefore pays no property taxes.  In about half the states, it does not collect state and local sales taxes. Property and sales taxes are the main source of funds for our schools and public services.  If local businesses are squeezed out by Amazon, households will have to shoulder a higher tax burden.
Local Economy:  While local retailers are engines of economic activity, spending their revenue at a wide variety of other businesses in the community, Amazon merely extracts money, leaving little behind.
Click here for the full infographic. Please feel free to re-post and distribute this widely!

Who was in our house last year?

Piglet & Rufus the Dufus. YIKES! Add one more home improvement project to the 2016 list: Get those kitchen cabinets re-done! Photo by Katie Q., presumably dangling a treat over their noses.

 
 
Last year was relatively benign. Unlike past years, we didn’t have a series of major projects to be completed around the house, and we only had one big event and a few small ones at home, including football game get-togethers and game nights. The only major 2015 drama was the Seahawks losing the Super Bowl which resulted in Greg laying awake staring at the ceiling all night long — I could actually hear his eyes blinking as I tried to get some zzzz’s. Other than that, drama didn’t include my mother this time but instead, it was Piglet snagging cheese off the counter and licking the home-made mashed potatoes during our family Christmas gathering.

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We did have a major bathroom remodel completed by our wonderful general contractor neighbor who lived across the street from us. Eric and his wife subsequently listed and sold their home through us and moved across the bay to be near their family.
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Part of the bathroom remodel included our UPS guy who also delivers to our office a few blocks away. He was delivering a toilet and other bathroom stuff for weeks until he finally asked if Greg is the same “Greg Jones” from a few blocks away getting a throne and other bathroom stuff delivered.
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We had Elite Catering provide food again for our 5-Year Itch Anniversary Party to celebrate our 5th year tolerating each other. Housecleaners came out to help with the cleaning before the event and I cleaned up my way after the event. Greg, however, isn’t as much of a slob as I am and he cleans the house regularly throughout the year. I get to clean the bathrooms, however. Lucky me.
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Our house/dog-sitter took care of our knuckleheads Piglet & Rufus the Dufus while we were away. She’s not taking on new clients. I think perhaps we contributed to wearing her out.
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Our neighbors/friends down the street got tired of seeing our overgrown tree outside and sent their tree-trimmer over to take care of it. I hope we remembered to reimburse them. Thanks B & C!
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Larry of Sunshine Carpet Cleaning was more of a regular in our home than the housecleaners this year. We like our carpets clean and the only way to get them clean with dogs always slobbering and dragging their butts all over them is to have a pro like Larry and his crew come in. Thanks, Larry! I’ve known Larry and his wife Jeannie since the Rickshaw days when they were customers at my former restaurant.
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Musette of Sterling Sites started the process of advising us on what to do with our less-used rooms of our home in order to make them more functional. We are two people who live in a 4-bedroom home and we have way too much space that isn’t used. We mostly use the bedroom and kitchen with the new bathroom being the most often occupied. Gotta love that heated toilet seat!
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Greg’s been negotiating for a Cigar Room or some other caveman-ish living space. We ended the year by having Grady’s Chimney Cleaning come out and check out our stack and provide his chimney cleaning service. It’s in great shape and we can light a fire with no problem. Put that in yer pipe and smoke it!

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The only unwanted visitors we had were two mice, one of which was in the glue trap THE DAY after Greg left town to visit one of his kids. Lucky me having to deal with that all by myself. Rufus the Dufus found the next mouse but luckily the dopey dog didn’t get stuck in the glue trap too — we caught him first. Later, leave it up to this dopey dog to tangle with an unknown critter outside in the back yard. Poor Piglet is usually the one who alerts us when Rufus is in trouble and he tried, but Greg and I were both busy and didn’t go outside right away. It may have been a raccoon or a cat. Who knows?
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Nature surrounds us every day and even though we live downtown, we see deer eating freshly mowed grass, lizards around our house and along the creek bed a few blocks away and ducks swimming in the water outside our office building. I mention nature so our readers don’t think we live in a barn when we admit to having mice. They’re part of nature too but since they don’t help us pay the mortgage, we evict them.
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This year, in 2016, I’m looking forward to new challenges to break up the monotony of everyday life. One of the biggest challenges I will have is enticing Greg to finish a couple of projects he started at home, namely, finishing painting the hallway and kitchen ceilings and changing the spotlight bulb over our bronze sculpture in our living room. He insists that he doesn’t have a tall enough ladder for completing these projects, and a painter we did have come in doesn’t like dogs and declined to paint our interior. Phooey!
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So, this year, all I want is for the unfinished projects to get done.
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That is all.

Real Estate: Kissing the (Hand) That Feeds You

In life, it’s very important to know which side of your bread is buttered. In my real estate career over many years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of representing clients who have bought homes with the financial contributions of their parents, in-laws, other family members or a loan through a financial institution. One common denominator has reigned supreme in each situation:

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Those who hold the purse-strings get to call the shots.
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I’ve seen the young couples with small children who need their parents’ blessing of cash and change their minds about where they buy because “mom doesn’t like the house”. In that case, since it was mom’s money helping to make that next purchase, the kids changed their plan about where they bought so they could be “closer to grandma”. Sounds fair to me.
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One young couple I represented planned to buy a home with enough space so the in-laws could stay with them. In this case, the mother-in-law was being very difficult about what the kids were considering buying. I felt compelled to gently remind them that since “mom” isn’t contributing financially, then perhaps they could be more independent about their home purchase.
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I don’t remember if I actually said what I was thinking — my edit button is broken sometimes. Let’s just say that my business partner/husband Greg backs away from showing property under these circumstances. (He has enough of his own mother-in-law sometimes. Love ya, mom!)
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The most common example I see of our Buyer Clients being at the whim of he/she who provides the funds is when they’re relying on a bank of other financial institution to provide a loan for their purchase. Although most of our Buyers have enough of a healthy down payment, they still need to borrow money to be able to buy their home. It may seem odd when the lenders ask for abundant financial documentation or signatures or explanation letters or super-bizarre last-minute conditions. Sometimes I have to remind our Buyer Clients that this is all part of getting a lender to loan ’em many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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They have the money; they make the rules.
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Sounds fair, right? Here’s one thing that really irks me when I’m showing property but luckily, this only happens when I’m hosting an Open House at one of our own listings, mainly because we’re selective about who our Buyer Clients are:
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Scenario: Teenage kid doesn’t like the house. Complains annoyingly. Whines. Sulks. Pouts. Cops an attitude. Disrespects the adult.
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Is this adolescent helping to make the mortgage payment? No.
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Is this kid a child-star who’s bringing in the total infusion of cash in order for the purchase to happen? No.
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Personally, I’ve gotten better over the years about commenting that whoever makes the house payment gets first pick about who bunks where.
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The bottom line is this:
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If mom and dad are giving you money to buy that house, you better be home for Christmas!